Quick start boosts Ravens

Tyson Sykes said he merely was trying to get his teammates involved in the game.

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 7:08pm
  • Sports

Auburn Riverside’s Shane Gutierrez

AR bumps off Kennedy, faces Peninsula in state soccer qualifier today

Tyson Sykes said he merely was trying to get his teammates involved in the game.

He got ’em involved, all right.

When Sykes’ free kick from 52 yards away ducked under the crossbar with just four minutes gone, he was surrounded by those Auburn Riverside High boys soccer teammates, all of them offering hugs, back-slaps and high-fives. By the end of the night at Highline Stadium, two more of them had gotten into the scoring act as the Ravens downed Kennedy in the South Puget Sound League 3A-Seamount League playoff game, 3-1.

“A couple years ago in the state (club) championship game, I scored one like that. But I wasn’t trying to score this time,” said Sykes, whose goal was his third of the season on a team where all 16 field players have tallied at least once. “I really think it set the tempo. Kennedy is a great team with a lot of (Premier-1) players, but we had a lot of momentum.”

“It kind of solidified that we were here to play.”

Now, the SPSL-champion Ravens (14-1-2 overall, including a 3-1 nonleague win against Kennedy on March 10) get to return to Highline Stadium this morning at 11 to take on Peninsula, the No. 2 team from the Olympic League, in a West Central-Southwest District playoff game.

From here on out, there are no guarantees: Only today’s district winners get to advance to the 16-team state bracket.

“We’re definitely ready for district, and ready to advance farther than that,” said defensive stalwart Jermaine Haller. “This is probably the best we’ve played all season, and the best competition we’ve had. They’ve improved (from March), but so have we.”

Sykes’ goal put the Ravens up 1-0 at the 4:13 mark. He took the free kick way out toward the sideline on the right wing side, intending to float a target ball into the penalty area. Instead, the ball rainbowed toward the upper left corner of the net and dipped just inside the ‘V.’

Kennedy, which didn’t get off its first shot until 14 1/2 minutes into the game, climbed back into a 1-1 tie on a free kick goal of its own at by Tony Armitage at 25:16.

Instead of going flat, the Ravens bounced right back. On a corner kick from the left wing side. Shane Gutierrez sent it high toward the right post, and Erin Lane went up in traffic and headed it in at 29:19.

Still up 2-1 midway through the second half, Riverside scored again on yet another play that started from a dead ball. Thomas took a throw-in from right side, standing almost right on end line. The ball dropped into the middle of the box about eight yards in front, where an initial shot was blocked, but the loose ball ricocheted out to John Fahrner, who wound up and shot it in from straight on at 65:57.

Kennedy managed just five shots for the game, only one of those during the second half. Riverside got of 17.

SPSL 4A PLAYOFFS

Jefferson 1, Curtis 0 (SO)

The Raiders prevailed 5-4 in a penalty-kick shootout to grab the SPSL’s No. 3 seed to today’s West Central District playoffs.

DJ DeWaele, Tyler Hanson, Derek Moore, Amos Nistrian and Chris Miller converted their shootout tries for Jefferson (9-4-4 overall).

The Raiders will take on Stadium, the No. 4 team from the Narrows League, today at 1 p.m. at Bethel High School. The winner advances to the 16-team state bracket. The loser is done.

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