Mount Si Wildcats senior midfielder Mateo Didomenico is known for his grittiness on the soccer field.
Didomenico, who is undoubtedly one of the most aggressive and physical players on the Wildcats varsity roster, came through in the clutch when his squad needed it the most in the first round of the 4A state playoffs against the Sumner Spartans.
With the score tied at 1-1 and 12 minutes left in regulation, Didomenico hustled for a loose ball, gaining possession in Sumner’s defensive backfield. Didomenico immediately passed the ball to teammate Drew Harris. Harris, who tied the game at 1-1 with a goal in the 28th minute, delivered a perfect pass with the back of his heel directly back to Didomenico. Didomenico absolutely hammered a shot that whistled into the upper left-hand corner of the goal, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats defense didn’t allow a goal in the final 12 minutes of play, preserving Mount Si’s 2-1 win in a loser-out, winner-to-state-quarterfinal playoff game on May 15 at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie.
The game-winning goal was a byproduct of Didomenico’s all-out hustle.
“I saw a weak ball played out. Not very many people were coming to it, so I just got in there. I knew I had a play on the ball. I had a good touch out to Drew and he played a perfect ball back to me. I just whacked it into the top corner,” Didomenico said.
Harris was jovial when he saw Didomenico capitalize on a golden opportunity with just 12 minutes left on the clock.
“We like to link up in the final third (of the field). It just worked out. I played it off for him and he just hit it,” Harris said of Didomenico’s game-winner.
The Wildcats weren’t rattled despite falling behind early against Sumner. Sumner forward Kurtis VanHout scored a goal in the ninth minute, giving Sumner a 1-0 lead. Harris said the Wildcats are the kind of team that never surrenders.
“It is all about mentality and not giving up, That is what this team is about. We showed it today and we’ve shown it in other games too,” Harris said.
Didomenico was glad the Wildcats didn’t allow Sumner to force overtime in the final 12 minutes of regulation.
“We get better every time we play. We were able to close out the game,” Didomenico said.
Mount Si will face the Issaquah Eagles in the 4A state quarterfinals at 7 p.m. on May 18 at Gary Moore Stadium in Issaquah.