BOYS PREP SOCCER
Hoquiam and Elma took the field in Tenino with very different results, the Grizzlies defeated La Center while Elma fell to Toledo-Winlock on Wednesday.
The Grizzlies and Eagles will play each other in the 1A District IV Tournament’s consolation bracket on Friday with a spot in the state tournament on the line.
Hoquiam 5, La Center 0
For about 15 minutes the Grizzlies looked unstoppable, scoring four times in the first half to defeat La Center 5-0 in the IA District Tournament semifinal.
Hoquiam (11-7 overall) cracked the seal on the scoring with a goal from Jose Juarez, who headed the ball into the back of the net off a corner kick from Bryan Cabrera in the 18th minute.
The Grizzlies kept the pressure on La Center and added another tally in the 26th minute to go up 2-0. Hector De La Osa took advantage of a through ball from Connor Darras and beat the keeper one-on-one for the second goal of the contest.
Hoquiam head coach Fidel Sanchez said his team played with better energy than it did in its 5-1 loss to Seton Catholic on Monday.
“The difference was intensity. We were more intense today than we were on Monday,” he said. “We had a determination to play hard and we had the right mentality.”
Hoquiam added another goal on a bending shot off the boot of Cameron Bumstead in the 28th minute to put Hoquiam up 3-0.
Bumstead’s shot from outside the box snuck just inside the near post. After putting his team up 3-0, the junior midfielder ran to the sidelines to celebrate with assistant coach Israel Fernandez, who had been helping him work on that shot in practice.
The Grizzlies would add one more goal in the 30th minute from De La Osa, who faked out his defender and goalkeeper Alex Moulton, which gave him a wide-open net to shoot at.
Juarez said the team’s passing ability and De La Osa’s individual skill were both on full display in the opening 40 minutes.
“It started with Connor (Darras) in the middle and once we put him outside on the wing, that opened up more chances going to the left side,” he said. “There was a lot of good passing up the middle and a bunch of broken ankles from Hector (De La Osa).”
Hoquiam went into the halftime break with a sizable 4-0 lead and Sanchez urged his team to not be over aggressive in the second half.
The Grizzlies had been penalized with three yellow cards in the first half, including one that was issued to the coaching staff.
“It was tricky because we have the game on Friday and we wanted to make sure we were at full strength,” Sanchez said. “I was surprised they called the game that tight. I didn’t agree with some of those calls, but you’re not going to get all the calls you want.”
La Center attempted to take advantage of a less aggressive Grizzlies team and had three scoring opportunities inside the box in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Hoquiam’s fullbacks averted danger in all three cases and cleared the ball to safety before the Wildcats could get on the board.
Sanchez said he needs his team to stay focused even in games where they have built a big lead.
“Everything was good in the first half. The second half, not so much,” he said. “That’s when you start getting complacent so we just need to stay focused the whole time.”
Hoquiam will now prepare to take on Elma on Friday at 6 p.m. in Montesano with a state playoff berth on the line in consolation bracket final. The two teams played each other evenly in the regular season with both squads taking a game from each other.
Juarez said that a lack of intensity won’t be an issue against Elma since the Grizzlies know their margin for error is gone after losing to Seton Catholic.
“A big part of it was that we weren’t threatened (by Seton Catholic) because we still had one more game to go,” he said. “When we lost on Monday, it hit us all at once. We were like, ‘This could be our last game and we need to take this.’”
Toledo-Winlock 5, Elma 0
Elma had a trouble slowing down Toledo-Winlock’s strikers and couldn’t get connected on its passes in a 5-0 loss in the IA District IV Tournament.
Elma (11-6-1 overall) surrendered its first goal in the 15th minute when United’s Gustavo Barragan went on a run and received a through ball before beating keeper AJ Hernandez to put Toledo-Winlock(14-0-4) up 1-0.
The Eagles had trouble clearing the ball out of the box in the 19th minute and gave up a goal to Andreas Malunat.
Elma had its best opportunity to score when Alexis Bautista got free on the wing late in the first half. His shot from the edge of the box was labeled for the upper 90 and beat the keeper, but clanged off the crossbar and out of bounds for goal kick.
United added one more goal from Barragan in the 28th minute, but Elma head coach Carson Seaberg didn’t feel like the 3-0 scoreline reflected how close the game was.
“At the end of the half it was 3-0, but it really wasn’t played that far apart,” he said. “That’s a tough score to overcome in the second half and we had to move some guys around because of injury, but overall, I’m kind of pleased. Every game for us is a learning experience.”
With the loss, Elma was moved to the consolation bracket where the Eagles will face Hoquiam for the third time this season at 6 p.m. on Friday in Montesano.
Seaberg said familiarity doesn’t really provide an advantage to either team at this point in the season.
“It is what it is. We know what they like to do, they know what we like to do, so it’s about execution and who can get the job done,” he said.