At the start of the school’s second decade, the Kentlake Falcons are making their first trip to the boys soccer playoffs.
The Falcons sealed the deal on Tuesday night, helping their own cause while also getting some help from a Kent District rival.
Troy Brunner scored on a free kick in the 17th minute, and goalkeeper Brandon Shipley picked up the shutout as Kentlake defeated South Puget Sound League North Division leader Kentwood, 1-0.
That boosted the Falcons’ record to 7-4-2 and 23 points with one game left. Then, when Kent-Meridian came from behind to tie Kentridge at 2-2 on a goal with three minutes remaining, that assured Kentlake of at least a fourth-place finish in the standings.
The top four qualify for the SPSL playoffs, which are set for Wednesday night.
“From the beginning of the season, these kids were just ready to play,” Kentlake coach Kyle Smith said. “It was exciting to see kids want to go out there and change things. We took a couple of rough shots (a 3-0 loss to Kentridge on March 25, and a 4-0 rout by Federal Way on April 22), but it’s a learning and building experience for them.”
Kentlake closed its schedule against preseason division favorite Jefferson on Friday night (results unavailable) with a chance to tie the Raiders for second place. Depending on Friday’s outcomes, the Falcons could wind up second, third or fourth in the division. A second- or third-place finish would mean an automatic trip to district after their SPSL playoff game. If they wind up fourth, they would have to win their league playoff in order to move on to West Central.
The SPSL games are scheduled for 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at both Tahoma and Bethel high schools. Tahoma will play host to the second-place teams and the fourth-place teams from the North and South divisions. The division champions and the third-place finishers play at Bethel, with the lower-seeded teams getting the 6 p.m. game at both sites.
Kentwood back in title hunt
A rough week for Kentwood suddenly got better on Wednesday night.
After losing two straight games – 2-1 at Tahoma last Friday, and 1-0 to Kentlake on Tuesday – the Conquerors got back on track with a 2-0 victory against Jefferson at Federal Way Stadium.
The game had been scheduled for March 28, but was canceled because the field was covered with snow.
It was the second time in nine days that the Conquerors had beaten Jefferson, having won by an identical 2-0 score at French Field on April 22.
Wednesday’s victory ended Kentwood’s 24-hour stay in second place in the North. The Raiders leapfrogged the Conquerors on Tuesday as they ended Tahoma’s 10-game unbeaten streak with a 2-1 victory. That gave them a 26-25 lead on Kentwood heading into the rescheduled rematch.
The Conquerors (9-3-1, 28 points) concluded the regular season on Friday night against Kentridge (results unavailable), needing only a tie or a win to clinch the division title.
Conner Biggs, who also scored in the first game against TJ, and Luke Angevine scored the Conquerors’ goals, both during the latter part of the second half. Mitch Pombrio got the shutout in goal, which was preserved with about a minute to play when Tyler Hanson of the Raiders sent a penalty kick just wide of the post.
“It was all about certain players stepping up, certain players refocusing on what they needed to do,” Kentwood coach Aaron Radford said. “Nobody was happy about our last two games. Regardless of the results, we hadn’t played well. We gave up three free-kick goals.
“For us to rise to the occasion, it was definitely a gut check.”
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