All season long, the Juanita soccer team said it wanted to leave a mark on KingCo 4A before moving down to 3A next year. It accomplished just that with a 4-1 championship game win over Eastlake on May 6.
In a bit of foreshadowing, Juanita’s Tyler Bjork collected the league MVP award before the start of the game. It didn’t take Bjork long to prove why, as he scored just three minutes into the game on an assist by Cameron Johnson.
Eastlake bounced back to tie the score on a free kick by Easton Fix on eight minutes, but Bjork struck again at the 26-minute mark. Genaro Jimenez knocked in a corner kick and Bjork threaded a shot through the crowd that found the back of the net. Juanita went into the half with a 2-1 lead, which wasn’t quite enough to ease Juanita coach Kevin Lamb’s nerves.
“Two to one at the half is an awful place to be,” said Lamb, who was named KingCo 4A’s coach of the year last week. “If they come out and score a goal, the momentum really shifts to them.”
The Rebels got the insurance Lamb wanted when Mason Bochner scored off of Ryan Morissey’s assist in the 61st minute.
As the clock ticked down in the second half, Lamb paced less on the sidelines and the Rebels started to taste the win. The large Juanita crowd was rocking as players on the bench jumped around and pumped the fans up.
To remove any doubt, Bjork broke loose from the pack at midfield and knocked in another goal at the 79-minute mark, completing his hat trick. He ran, hands up and slid on his stomach back to the sideline as his team went wild.
With the win, Juanita earned a trip to the 4A state tournament and left a lasting mark on the KingCo 4A in the team’s final season at the classification. The Rebels first-round game at state was yesterday, after the Reporter’s deadline.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Lamb said. “You could write it as a movie script and it couldn’t be any better, especially since it was against Eastlake, a perennial power. It was sort of a David vs. Goliath.”
To go with Bjork’s MVP and Lamb’s coach of the year award, defender Max Purpus, midfielder Gernaro Jimenez and midfielder Garrett Lee were all named to the KingCo 4A second team.
The Rebels used the number of selections as motivation for the game. Lamb said even though he and Bjork took top awards, they felt snubbed by getting only one first-team selection.
“The atmosphere of the team was to go out and show that they deserved more selections,” Lamb said.
Playing the last half of its season with win-or-go-home intensity, the Lake Washington boys soccer team finally wore down as it lost to Bothell 3-0 on May 6.
“For the past six or seven games, they’ve all been playoff games for us,” Lake Washington coach Shaun Warner said. “I think that finally caught up to us.”
The teams played a physical, back-and-forth and scoreless battle for the first 60-plus minutes, but the Kangs didn’t play as aggressively as Warner would have liked and missed some opportunities.
Bothell finally broke the 0-0 tie when Alex Villaviciencio scored in the 62nd minute.
“I think Bothell just wanted it more,” Warner said. “It took Bothell scoring a goal for us to wake up.”
Lake Washington started to take more chances and play with more emotion, but it was too little, too late for the Kangs. Villaviciencio and Travis Bear added late goals to seal the win for Bothell.
“Give Bothell a lot of credit,” Warner said. “They came out with a great game plan.”
The Kang’s season ended with an 8-6-1 overall record and a playoff win over Garfield on their resume. Bothell beat Eastlake 1-0 on May 8 to advance to the state tournament.
Lake Washington goalkeeper Henry Busch made the all-league first team. Defender Zach Hammond and midfielder Ian Nova made the all-league second team.