They’re back – and they’re ready.
A year after breaking a 25-season drought in the Class 2A state soccer championship game, the Fife Trojans are headed there again after a 2-0 shutout of Tumwater on Friday at Sunset Chev Stadium.
The Trojans will face Archbishop Murphy or Cheney at 4 p.m. today.
“It was a wonderful win,” said Fife coach Tony Crudo. “The goal in the kids’ minds all year long has been to get back here so we can get another shot. It’s so hard to get here.”
Fife controlled possession early on, with both of its goals coming in the first half. Senior forward Cesar Esquivel scored off a volley pass from freshman forward Victor Mansaray in the 18th minute, and sophomore defender Gilberto Garcia made what he called an unexpected shot in the 36th minute.
“I didn’t see it coming,” he said of the low shot to the right from 15 yards out. “The rebound from the defender was just rolling by, I saw it, and I had to take the shot.”
The Trojans had another chance to score in the first half, when Garcia put a free kick on frame. Tumwater senior goalkeeper Devin Dieckman made the save, but bobbled the ball, giving Fife sophomore midfielder Edgar Garcia a hard shot in the 21st minute that he had to dive on top of the ball to save.
Esquivel, who was given a yellow card for a hard foul in the 56th minute, nearly scored in the 24th minute when he attempted to head the ball over Dieckman, who knocked it away and kicked it upfield.
Tumwater’s best chance to score came in the 77th, on a shot attempt from the top of the box that Fife keeper Ulises Zepeda, a sophomore, kicked up and over the goal to save. The Thunderbirds were unable to convert the ensuing corner kick.
Still, coach Bryan Winkler said he was pleased with his team’s performance in its first loss of the season.
“We don’t define ourselves win or lose; we define ourselves by how we compete,” he said. “The rest takes care of itself. These are life lessons.”
Class 1A Semifinals
Overlake 2, Ridgefield 1 (shootout): It took two overtimes and six penalty kicks for both teams to clinch the Owls a berth into the championship game. Overlake forward Bryan Lin had the winning kick after his team was unable to convert with less than 30 seconds left in regulation.
Chelan 3, Royal 2 (OT): After a hard-fought final 15 minutes of regulation during which both teams scored, Chelan midfielder Eleazar Galvan got the ball off a flubbed kick by a Royal defender and put it into the back of the net to give the Mountain Goats the overtime win.