Skyline wins first soccer championship since 2001

May 8, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

Daniel Richardson (left), Skyline High School’s midfielder, tussles with a Woodinville High School player during the May 1 shutout. Richardson scored his first goal of the season in the 30th minute, bringing the half-time score to 2-0. By Lillian Tucker

The Skyline High School boys soccer team made school history last week by becoming the 4A KingCo regular season champs, for the first time.

In a shutout against the Woodinville High School Falcons on May 1, the Skyline Spartans won 3-0. That victory, along with the team’s two-week winning steak brought its conference record to 8-2.

“It feels good to win finally,” said mid-fielder Pedro Miola, a Skyline senior.

Both in 2010 and 2011 the Spartans came in second in the regular season. They then lost the KingCo tournament title to Garfield in 2010 and to Eastlake in 2011. Skyline finished first in 2001, but the school was in the 3A division then.

But there is another reason why the win means so much to the Spartans.

“You guys are going to the state tournament because you won here,” coach Don Braman told the boys after the match.

A crescendo erupted from the post-game huddle that surrounded Braman.

“What I want you to recognize,” said the coach, “is that it took a lot of work to win tonight.”

Twenty minutes into the game, Skyline kicked off the score sheet. The team covered 70 yards on the field in six passes before senior midfielder Austin Dodd landed the ball in the back of the net. Sophomore forward Jason Twaddle made the assist.

With the crowd still reeling from the first goal, the Spartans quickly closed in on the Falcons’ goal again. There, Miola and Dodd made a clever one-two pass between each other. Miola then crossed it from the corner of the net where Daniel Richardson got his head on it to make his first goal of the season.

“It feels amazing,” said Richardson, a junior midfielder. “He played a beautiful ball and I just tucked it in.”

“It was great seeing Danny score,” Braman said. “He worked really had to put himself in that position.”

The May 1 game was the last of the regular season and “senior night” for the team’s five seniors: Dodd, Evan Botsch, Cole Calabro, Miola and Tim Chui.

“We got some excellent contributions from the seniors,” Braman said. “It’s also a great opportunity for younger guys to step up.”

After the game, Dodd said soccer has been his favorite sport and he is going to miss it.

“It’s weird coming to an end. But as long as we keep winning I’ll keep playing, so I’ll be happy,” he said.

Next year, the Skyline graduate plans to attend California Polytechnic State University, where he hopes to try out for the soccer team.

In the second half of the game, junior defender Ryan Shim netted what would have been his second goal of the year but was called back for being offside. Soon after, Miola made up for the lost goal when he scored a penalty kick in the 69th minute. By the game’s end the Spartans had won 3-0 and goal keepers Zach Anselmi (first half) and Ben Morgan (second half) had earned shutouts.

“It starts with a team commitment to making sure we keep teams out of the goal,” Braman said.

As regular season champs, Skyline gets to host the KingCo tournament championship game, which was scheduled to take place May 8 against Roosevelt High School. The winner of that game will be the district’s No. 1 seed at state and host the state tournament’s quarterfinal.

“They’re a good team and they’re fun to watch,” said Ryan Gilbert, Skyline’s athletic director. “Hopefully, we’ll get to watch a lot more of them.”

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