Mount Si soccer team survives and thrives despite adversity

The Mount Si boys' soccer team opened their week last Monday under a cloud of adversity stemming from their tie the previous Friday night at home against Interlake. Both defender Jace Derwin and coach Darren Brown were serving one-game suspensions as a result of red cards given to them by referees during that contest, one of the more controversially officiated soccer matches that Mount Si has been a part of in recent history. What the Wildcats were able to do against Issaquah in spite of all that adversity, though, might save this season.

Dane Portscheller scored a goal in overtime, off a feed from Gibson Bardsley, to break a 1-1 tie and give Mount Si a hard-fought and much-needed 2-1 victory, which was their first of the year. Bardsley scored the other Wildcat goal off a feed from Portscheller in the first half, but the Eagles quickly tied the game. It stayed that way until early in the first overtime, when Portscheller fired it home and got it done.

The winning continued last Wednesday, as Mount Si got Brown and Derwin back and pulled-off a major upset against the Newport Knights. Bardsley was the story, scoring both goals for the Wildcats, as they held on for a 2-1 win.

" I knew it was going to be a good game going in. I kind of knew what Paul (Mendes, the Newport coach) does and I knew what kind of formation he was playing, which was a 4-4-2. I know the firepower they have. They're a very good team," said Brown, as his team moved into the thick of the playoff hunt with the victory.

Bardsley's big night started in the 25th minute, as he broke past Knight defenders, and fired one by the Newport goalie and gave the Wildcats a big confidence-building 1-0 lead. Bardsley added to his efforts with a goal in the 60th minute to give Mount Si what appeared to be a clinching 2-0 lead. However, the Wildcats then appeared to let up a little bit. They paid for it in the 65th minute, as Knight Andrew Smith scored from well out and cut the Newport deficit in half. Mount Si goalie Cody Tipton's strong play, with several spectacular saves, literally saved the day for the Wildcats as the Knights fought until the last whistle to tie the game.

Strong practices have been key to the Wildcats' run. "Over about the past week, we've really been working hard and trying to improve our game and it's really shown on the field and that's why we defeated Newport," said junior defender Andrew Talevich.

Mount Si traveled to Mercer Island last Friday night, and got a bit of a reality check, as the Islanders held on for a 2-1 win. A late Wildcat goal broke a potential Islander shut-out bid, but Mount Si's unbeaten string came to an end at three.

At the halfway point in the season, the Wildcats are 2-4-1 in league, 2-6-2 overall.

Mount Si is off for the rest of this week, after having played earlier this week against the Bellevue Wolverines, a team that the Wildcats lost against to open the season. Mount Si travels next Tuesday to Sammamish, where Vini Oliveira, Jose Luis Bonilla and the rest of the very dangerous Totems await. Start time for this game is 6 p.m. Next Friday, the Liberty Patriots come in to face the Wildcats in Snoqualmie. Game time is at the normal 7:30 p.m. The player to watch on the Patriots is senior forward Mackenzie Woehlbrandt. Liberty already beat Mount Si earlier this season, so the Wildcats will look for revenge, and three more points to put them right back in the hunt for those final playoff spots in Kingco 3A.

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