Neville Mensur simultaneously elevates beyond and sheds off two Nathan Hale players on May 2 at the SW Athletic Complex. Sealth's win means they will go to the playoffs as division champs. PLEASE CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR MORE.
SLIDESHOW: Chief Sealth soccer wins division outright with 1-0 victory over Nathan Hale (updated)
The seniors of the Chief Sealth International High School boys varsity soccer team are a smart bunch.
With a 1-0 victory over division rival Nathan Hale on May 2, the Seahawks capped their regular season with another win and became Metro Sound Division champs, fulfilling a Nostradamus-esque prophecy by the seniors four years ago.
“Amazing season,” Sealth coach Ron Johnson said after the game. “I’ve been here fifteen years and we started out with nothing, and in the last four years (that has changed). The seniors here were the kids that came out … and told me they were going to be champions in four years and I said, ‘OK, I’ve heard it before.’”
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Smart bunch, and only fitting their prediction would come to fruition on Senior Night.
The Seahawks sewed up the season with a perfect division record of 12-0. Overall, they finished 13-1-1.
The hard fought battle against Nathan Hale was a story of rock solid Seahawk defense (including another shutout for goalkeeper Kristian Nilssen) to keep the ball out of their net, and good pressure on the opposite end with some bad luck keeping the scoreline limited to one.
The game winner came courtesy of striker Abel Madrigal, a scoring machine in the second half of the season, courtesy of Sealth’s central midfielder and orchestrator of ball distribution, Mori Tsuchiya.
Fifteen minutes into the match Tsuchiya found Madrigal at the 18-yard line with a forward pass from just beyond midfield. With a defender at his back, Madrigal took a touch that perfectly set the ball up with a small bounce. He swiveled on it and coolly chipped a lofted shot at goal. Hale’s keeper could only stand and watch, as if set in stone, as the ball arched over his head and into the net.
Sealth goalkeeper Kristian Nilssen picked a good game to be unstoppable, and proved his point several times in the first half, including a fully stretched save 30 minutes in on a Hale shot headed to the far post. Nilssen worked in tandem with defender Antonio Garcia to keep the shutout alive minutes later when a Hale striker broke free for a one-on-one opportunity. Nilssen was able to slow the shot just enough with a reflex-charged arm and Garcia came sliding in behind him to clear the ball before it crossed the line.
The second half was marked by a suffocating Seahawk defense that would simply not allow Nathan Hale to create or get bodies forward before breaking up plays and switching the flow.
With that shifted momentum Sealth had several shots on goal, but a possible shift in the earth’s magnetism drew nearly every shot to the crossbar as balls careened of the post left and right, followed by “Uuggs” and “Aarghs” from the Chief Sealth bench and crowd.
The final whistle blew and the Seahawk crowd erupted in elation. Coach Johnson rounded up his team to tell them it was the best season he’d had in 15 years, and how proud he was to be their coach.
“It’s been a great season so far, but it’s not over …” Johnson said to his formidable squad, firing them up for the upcoming Metro playoffs and a potential ticket to state.
In winning the Metro Sound division, Chief Sealth attains a number one seed, giving them a bye to the Metro semifinals. They will find out next Monday, May 7, who they will play in that game (it will likely be against a private school from the Metro Mountain division and certainly a tough matchup).
Playoff games happen at the Interbay Athletic Complex at 3027 17th Ave W. and we’ll keep you posted on the specific time and date.
Chief Sealth seniors, that smart bunch honored with pizza, soda and proud parents after the game, include Neville Mensur, Simon Crean, Brandon Rosario, Jordan Luna, Quang Nguyen, Aden Fidow, Logan Smith and Antonio Garcia.
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