Tony Crudo isn’t one to focus on goal setting. Instead, he just tells his team to play well.
“And if you play well, 99 percent of the time, it works out,” said Fife’s boys soccer coach.
On Saturday evening, it did just that as the Trojans won their first Class 2A state championship in school history with a 3-1 win against Cheney at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner. A year ago, Fife broke a 25-year drought in the state tournament before losing to Lynden in the title game.
“It’s been a really good team,” Crudo said of the group that finished with a perfect 21-0 record. “It’s not a surprise that we were good – it’s a surprise that we were able to finish the job.”
Fife senior forward Cesar Esquivel got his team on the board first, in the 23rd minute, despite Cheney junior goalkeeper Joe Scott getting a firm hand on the ball.
Esquivel said that being runners-up in 2011 gave him incentive.
“Last year I couldn’t do it,” he said. “But I knew if we made it to the final this year, we’d win it.”
Cheney (20-1) scored its only goal in the 28th minute. Sophomore midfielder Micah Weller’s 15-yard attempt was batted away by Fife sophomore keeper Ulises Zepeda, but sophomore defender Ian Schimandle punched it in on the rebound.
Fife responded with a 25-yard blast by sophomore midfielder Edgar Garcia in the 31st minute, and added a 2-yard shot on a rebound by senior midfielder Albert Carrillo in the 51st minute.
Cheney was unable to keep possession of the ball for any length of time in the second half and at one point headed two consecutive balls on goal that failed to go in.
Still, Cheney coach Mark Kiver said he was pleased with his team’s performance. The Blackhawks, who finish the season 20-1, have been runners-up in four of the last five title games.
“You look at like like you hate coming in second,” he said. “But I can’t be any happier with the success of those guys.”
Archbishop Murphy (21-1) finished third in the tournament after shutting out Tumwater (20-2-2) 2-0 in the consolation final. The Thunderbirds were unable to capitalize on several opportunities and got the Wildcats on the board with an own-goal in the 45th minute.
Wildcats forward Aidan Huggins closed out scoring in the 71st off a cross from sophomore midfielder Christian Theode. As keeper Devon Deickman slid in an attempt to knock the ball away, Huggins chipped it over him and into the back of the net.
“That was tough,” said Tumwater coach Bryan Winkler. “We created chances and we just didn’t get the typical quality finishes we get.”
Senior midfielder Jesse Klug connected on his team’s final penalty kick to give Overlake a 1-0 win over Chelan in the title game after neither team was able to score in regulation.
Chelan struggled to create pressure late in the game and Klug nearly scored with 30 seconds left on a long shot from about 25 yards out, but Mountain Goats senior keeper Ruben Medina foiled him for the third time of the game.
Earlier in the day, Royal shut out Ridgefield 3-0 for third place.
Jennifer Chancellor, contributing writer