Fife 4, Hockinson 1
Star of the game: Cesar Esquivel scored three goals for Fife.
Third-place match: Hockinson will play East Valley of Spokane at noon today at Sumner High School.
SUMNER — Being newcomers to the boys soccer semifinals, the Hockinson Hawks might have been a bit uncertain about what to expect on Friday at Sunset Chev Stadium.
But the Hawks certainly didn’t anticipate the prowess of Fife forward Cesar Esquivel.
Esquivel scored three goals — bringing his season total to 29 — and the Trojans beat the Hawks 4-1 in a Class 2A state semifinal match. Esquivel scored twice in the first half, and sealed things with a breakaway goal in the 62nd minute as Fife advanced to meet Lynden today for the state title.
Hockinson will play at noon for third place against East Valley of Spokane.
“They attacked early. They ran over the top of us. We were on our heels from the start,” Hockinson coach Vic Oenning said.
Cotter Hamilton scored the Hockinson goal on a direct free kick from the right wing with less than seven minutes left. Hamilton also hit the cross bar with a late-game shot, but for the most part the Hawks struggled to develop an attack.
“It was nice to get one in, but it’s still a loss,” Hamilton said.
Fife was big and strong through the center of the park, and Esquivel was fast enough to beat the Hockinson defense several ways.
Of his three goals, Esquivel’s second one was most significant. He took advantage of some miscommunication in the Hockinson defense to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead four minutes from halftime.
Oenning said the halftime talk was about how scoring first in the second half would put the Hawks in the thick of the match. Instead, the Trojans’ Kainan Landholm made it 3-0 five minutes after the break.
“The second half they got that early goal, and that really shut us down,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t play with enough heart today.”
Oenning also credited Fife for being the hungrier team, but also complimented the Trojans for their ability to play the ball in the air.
“We’re a possession team. We try to keep the ball on the floor, and we were not successful at doing that,” Oenning said. “We gave up too many 50-50s, too many balls out of the air that we were not getting that first touch. When you do that, you’re always on your heels and you’re always playing defense.”
And when the Hawks did attack, they were too direct most of the night, their coach said.
“We never got the wings involved,” Oenning said. “We talked about their two center backs being one of the strengths of their team, and we actually played to that strength. We played too many high balls, and they head really well.”
What Esquivel does well is finish.
“We adjusted a couple of times,” Oenning said of his defense’s approach during the match. “But this is the same team that got 14 shutouts this year, so you have to have faith in your players, too.”
Hockinson had plenty of faith when it arrived in Sumner on Friday.
“We came out thinking we were going to win,” Hamilton said. “Then they got a couple of goals in and it was over. They’re one of the best teams that we’ve played all year, and they definitely showed it today.” Hamilton said.
FIFE 4, HOCKINSON 1
Goal — Cotter Hamilton (free kick) 74th minute. Goalkeeper saves — Shamele Battan 14.
Goals (assists) — Cesar Esquivel (unassisted) 28th minute; Esquivel (unassisted), 41st; Kainan Landholm (unassisted), 45th; Esquivel (unassisted), 62nd.
Halftime — Fife 2-0