Wolves get lone goal in 1-0 win over Spartans
May 3, 2011
By Tim Pfarr
In the 50th minute of play April 26, Eastlake High School head coach Adam Gervis benched senior Sawyer Preston.
The midfielder needed some time to settle down and rethink his strategy against league rival Skyline. It had been an up-and-down match, with opportunities for both teams shifting like the gusty wind.
“He was trying to do too much,” Gervis said.
Preston returned to the action in the 67th minute with a new attitude — he later thanked Gervis for the time-out. And three minutes later Preston scored the game’s only goal.
“He adjusted, did what he needed to do, and led the team,” Gervis said. “When he went back on, he was a different player. He controlled the game.”
The Eastlake Wolves handed Skyline its first loss of the season with a 1-0 win. Eastlake improved to 6-1-1 in KingCo (7-3-2 overall) and Skyline went to 6-1-1 (10-1-2 overall). The victory created a three-way tie for first place in the KingCo 4A standings between Eastlake, Garfield and Skyline.
“This was a must-win for us,” Gervis said. “But we have more work to do.”
According to Gervis and Skyline coach Don Braman, Preston’s 70th-minute goal was out of the blue. Eastlake had been pressing hard all second half and had a series of unsuccessful corner kicks. Sophomore midfielder Sam Langston had passed it into the scrum of players in the box and the ball bounced around a bit, nearly going in. But when it wasn’t cleared, Preston slid and was the first one to the ball, tapping it past Skyline goalkeeper Steven Pankiewicz from four yards out.
“That’s all about passion. It’s all about getting it done when you need a goal,” Gervis said. “It’s about wanting it.”
Braman gave credit to the Wolves’ offense for taking advantage of its opportunities, especially in the second half, as well as its defense for taking away looks for Skyline’s crafty senior forward Braxton Griffin.
Eastlake “as a team had worked hard.” Braman said. “They were able to get us off the game we wanted to play.”
Skyline had some close calls early on, while the wind was to its back. Griffin offered up a near goal in the first minute that sailed just over the crossbar. In the 18th minute, sophomore forward James Molyneaux-Elliott came close on a shot that hit Eastlake keeper Zach Wile and eventually went wide of the sidebar.
The Spartans spent the first half using the wind to avoid passing through the Eastlake midfield. But the Wolves took the field in the second half with the wind at its back.
“The second half was much more challenging. They did a good job to win the ball in the air,” Braman said. “The second half felt like we were on our heels more.”
Braman and Gervis credited Eastlake’s Michael Gallagher, a junior defender, with thwarting numerous Skyline offensive threats.
“He’s very steady and managed to calm everything down when we would get a good chance,” Braman said.
If Eastlake beats Bothell April 29 and Inglemoor May 3, it will host the KingCo championship game, likely against Skyline or Garfield. If it loses one and Skyline wins both of its last matches, Skyline would host.