Strong start to season replaced by struggles to open second half Soccer hits a few ruts

Kevin Isackson works around a Mercer Island defender in last week’s 5-0 loss. Mount Si had another tough contest later in the week, losing to Skyline. - Jim McKiernan / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Kevin Isackson works around a Mercer Island defender in last week’s 5-0 loss. Mount Si had another tough contest later in the week, losing to Skyline.
— image credit: Jim McKiernan / Snoqualmie Valley Record

The Mount Si High School soccer team had a tough night at the office Tuesday, April 8, when they were unable to fend off a fierce Mercer Island squad.

Things did not go Mount Si’s way, as the Islanders took control early and cruised to a 5-0 victory. Goals for MI were scored in the 12th minute by Nick Ward, 16th minute by Keegan Tomita, 26th minute by Derek Johnson, 37th minute by Radcliffe McDougald, and 77th minute again by Ward.

“Mercer [Island] came for revenge and they crushed us for 80 minutes,” said Mount Si coach Darren Brown by e-mail. The Wildcats beat the Islanders 1-0 in their last meeting on March 11.

The Wildcats came back out last Friday, April 11, against Skyline, looking to get the bad taste out of their mouths coming out of Tuesday’s defeat. Initially, it appeared that could be the case, but the Spartans scored early, then took control the rest of the way, handing Mount Si another loss.

Riley McCoy and Braxton Griffin were among the goal scorers as the Spartans blew open a close game in the second half and cruised to a 4-0 victory.

“We ran into a tough week,” said Brown. “It wasn’t the way we wanted to go, but this week we’ve got three games and we’ll buckle things down then. I just thought our attack was a lot better tonight.”

McCoy opened the scoring in the 11th minute, firing a shot which apparently deflected off a Mount Si defender and past Wildcat goalie Cody Tipton into the net. After that, the tone of the game changed. It remained 1-0 into the second half; then the floodgates opened. Griffin scored in the 49th minute on a breakaway to make it 2-0. Then Will Cottrell and David Bretl scored goals almost a minute apart in the 53rd and 54th minutes to put it away.

Keegan Bubar had a chance very late to break the shutout, but the Wildcat sophomore’s shot sailed off the crossbar.

Brown recognized that these two losses illustrate clearly the growing pains the program is experiencing.

“We’re young and green,” he said. “This needs to be understood.”

“This isn’t a shock to me we’re going through this,” Brown added. “When we came out of the gate hot, I think everyone had a lot of, ‘Ooh, this team is incredible.’ We’re very young and inexperienced in a lot of areas and so this wave of wins and losses, I kind of expected these kind of things to happen.”

For now, Mount Si is comfortably in sixth place, which holds the final league playoff spot, so there is some time to improve.

“We’re going to definitely keep attacking,” Brown said. “We’ve been trying to do that for the last three weeks, and it’s going to come. We’re knocking.

“We’ve gone on a dry spell since Interlake, so we just need that one goal and hopefully we’ll turn things around,” he added.

The April 11 game was not as physical as was expected. The two teams’ previous meeting this season on Friday, March 14, and meetings in past years between the two have been rather rough affairs, ones which kept game officials busy. Last Friday’s tilt was a relatively easy night for officials, who were fairly even in awarding free kicks to the two sides. About a quarter of those were the result of offside calls on breakaway attempts.

Mount Si sophomore Dyson Fowler has had a good season in his first varsity campaign. He sees varsity as being a lot different from junior varsity, which he played last season.

“Varsity is fast, it’s tough, it’s physical,” Fowler said. “JV is just slower.

“I’ve just had to work hard and practice,” he added. “That’s just the best way to get ready. During practice you just give 110 percent and it’ll show up in games.”

Mount Si is home Wednesday, April 16 against Bellevue. On Friday, April 18, the ‘Cats visit Sammamish. Game time Wednesday is an hour earlier than normal, 6:30 p.m., due to WASL testing. Friday returns to the normal 7:30 p.m. start time.

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