Issaquah out-shot Bothell. The Eagles also had more corner kicks, but in the end, the Cougars claimed the most important statistic with a 2-0 victory in Tuesday night’s KingCo 4A playoff soccer game at Pop Keeney Stadium.
“The disappointing thing is that we’ve been playing well,” Issaquah head coach Jason Lichtenberger said. “We really got taken out of our game today. Normally we’ve been able to control the tempo and get back into our rhythm, and we just weren’t into it today.”
With the victory, Bothell secured a winner-to-state bi-district playoff game at home this Saturday against the No. 2 team from the Greater St. Helen’s League. Issaquah will travel to face the No. 1 team from the GHSL in a winner-to-state game on Saturday. Skyview and Evergreen played Thursday to decide the seeding.
With a 200-mile road trip on the line, Bothell struck in the 34th minute when Cole Correll drilled a deflected ball into the back of the net from 5 yards out.
The Eagles received several opportunities, out-shooting the Cougars 6-5 in the first half. Shots continued to sail high and wide of the net, however.
“We’ve been very successful in must-win situations,” Lichtenberger said. “Maybe because it wasn’t a must-win we just came out flat.”
Bothell struck again in the 44th minute when Yordan Rivera blasted a penalty kick past a wall of Eagle defenders, and directly through the legs of Stephen Jacobson. The insurance goal allowed the Cougars to pack it in on defense, limiting Issaquah to just three second-half shot attempts.
“They defend well,” Lichtenberger said. “They have a lot of players who can win 50-50s, and they won all the knock-downs. They just showed they wanted it a little bit more than us.”
While the road trip isn’t ideal, Lichtenberger noted he’s more concerned about keeping confidence up.
“We had a lot of momentum going our way, now we’re losing some of that momentum, I think,” he said. “We’ve got to work on it and pick it back up.”
Kickoff for this Saturday’s game was scheduled for 2 p.m., but Lichtenberger noted they hope to move it up because senior prom takes place that evening.
Issaquah defeated Ballard 3-2 on May 9 in a loser-out game. The Eagles earned goals from Michael Axelson, Quinn Grisham and Larry Schneider.
Grisham was honored after Tuesday’s game as the Player of the Year in KingCo. The junior midfielder has scored nine goals and had three assists so far this season.
“He had a great year and he’s a tremendous player and it’s nice that some other coaches around the league saw that and respected that,” Lichtenberger said.
Eastlake lost 2-1 to Bothell in a shootout Saturday, ending the Wolves’ hopes for a return shot at the state tournament. The Cougars jumped on the board early scoring in the 4th minute. Mikey Marsh answered in the 37th minute, tying the game 1-1 scoring on an assist from Sean Klauer. Bothell outscored Eastlake 7-6 in a shootout to grab the victory.