Spartans fall to Wolves’ third-time charm, 2-0

May 17, 2011

By Christopher Huber

Controlling a defense is what Eastlake High School’s Michael Gallagher does. And creating scoring opportunities is what Sean Klauer and James Gee do.

Gerard Galvin, Eastlake High School senior defender, and Skyline senior midfielder Travis Strawn battle near the Wolves’ goal during their May 10 season finale. By Christopher Huber

Together, the three Wolves’ soccer standouts shut down the Skyline Spartans on May 10. For the second matchup in a row, Eastlake shut out the third-ranked Spartans, this time 2-0 to take the 4A KingCo Conference championship.

Eastlake hosts the opening round of the state tournament May 17. Skyline heads to state as the No. 2 seed from KingCo.

“I hate losing to Eastlake,” Skyline coach Don Braman said. “We knew we’d be in for a fight tonight.”

Senior forward Klauer scored both goals for Eastlake (10-3-2), with help both times from Gee. And defensively, Gallagher, a junior, took away most opportunities for Skyline (12-2-2), including the majority of advances from burly forward Braxton Griffin.

“Klauer got his goals, that’s what he does. Gee gave him the ball, that’s what he does,” Eastlake coach Adam Gervis said. “Gallagher is the best defender I’ve ever seen. He’s a control freak.”

Skyline’s defense took a lot of pressure early in the first half. Klauer and Gee led the Wolves’ attack and took advantage of a split-second opportunity in the 13th minute. The ball came into the box from about 20 yards out. Under pressure, Gee tapped it right, and from four yards, Klauer nudged it inside the right post, past Skyline goalkeeper Steven Pankiewicz. It happened quickly and Klauer said there wasn’t much to it.

“It was just perfect,” he said. “It’s just adrenaline right there.”

Pankiewicz pulled his weight for the Spartans. He saved two shots early on — first from Eastlake’s Mark Matula in the fourth minute and again in the eighth minute on a close call from Gee. The Skyline defense had trouble beating Eastlake to the ball and moving it up field.

“They took advantage of opportunities when they were presented to them,” Braman said about Eastlake’s pressure throughout the first half. “We lacked decision-making at times.”

Klauer put Eastlake up 2-0 in the 28th minute on a ricochet into the net. Pankiewicz saved a shot from Gee, but Klauer tipped the deflected ball in past the right post.

“I saw the defender and just hit it in,” Klauer said. He attributed his energy for the game to the building fan base at school and the feeling of scoring a goal in front of a big crowd. “As a senior, it feels pretty good. When the crowd goes crazy when you score, it’s amazing.”

While Eastlake fans hooted and hollered for the KingCo title win, the team remained somewhat subdued, reveling in the win, but staying focused on its higher goal for the season. Gervis said the team set goals in training camp before the season began, with the big one being to win state.

“We set goals in camp and knocked them off one at a time,” he said. “They know they’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

Garfield ousts Issaquah

Issaquah’s season came to an end May 10 when the Eagles lost to Garfield, 5-2. Alex Shane and Michael Roberts scored Issaquah’s goals in the game for KingCo’s No. 3 berth.

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