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3A STATE: Kickers upset defending champs; play for state title
LAKEWOOD – There are many ways for goalkeepers to gain an edge in the penalty kick shootout, from the subtle to the obscene.
All senior goalkeeper Nic Miller needed was a cool head and one stop to help the Bainbridge boys' soccer team make history.
His teammates backed him up in the shootout by converting all five kicks as the Spartans defeated the defending state champion Glacier Peak Grizzlies 5-3 in the penalty shootout in a 3A state semifinal match Friday to move on to its first ever appearance in the 3A state title game.
They will play Camas – a 4-1 winner over Southridge in the other semifinal – at 2 p.m at Harry Lang Stadium on the campus of Clover Park High School.
“It's just the best feeling ever,” Miller said. “I'm just really overwhelmed right now.”
Alex Raquer got the Spartans on the board within the first minute as he scored off a corner kick from Michael Crowley for his 16th goal of the season.
But the Grizzlies countered in the 12th minute when David Linney sent in the equalizer off a shot from just outside the penalty box. It was the first goal Bainbridge had allowed in 317 minutes of play.
“You see the first two goals happen quickly and you think it's going to be an offensive battle,” assistant coach Scott Druker said. “But then there was a stretch (of play) where there were no shots on goal – just a lot of dueling in the midfield.”
The Spartans and Grizzlies had chances in the second half. Matt Parker had to make a goal line clearance from a shot that had Miller beat, while Bainbridge almost sneaked in a free kick from just outside the left side of the box before the fulltime whistle.
The Spartans came close to a goal in the second overtime when Crowley took a ball deep into the box and made a quick pass to Raquer but he did not get enough on his shot as it went right to Grizzlies goalkeeper Andrew Weakley.
In the shootout, Miller said they were motivated to get past Weakley, a heralded keeper who is headed to Villanova next fall.
“We all wanted to play against this team,” he said. “We were pumped to get into PK's against this team. We really wanted to beat him.”
Miller said he was able to throw off defender Michael Windrim on his penalty kick to make the save.
“I went one way and he thought I was going the other way, so it messed up his mind a little bit,” he said.
Druker said they work on shootouts at practice.
“We felt confident coming in,” he said of the five shooters in Crowley, Raquer, Sebastian Scales, Brad Olson and Connor Winship. “These kids, we feel, are automatic. They felt good all week and I don't think the pressure got to them.
“But in shootouts you need your keeper to get at least one save and he (Miller) was able to do that for us.”