RIDGEFIELD — A season marked by injuries came to a painful conclusion on Tuesday for the Ridgefield boys soccer team.
After leading until the final minute of regulation play, the Spudders were knocked out of the Class 2A state tournament in soccer’s crapshoot as visiting Sedro-Woolley made six consecutive penalty kicks to emerge victorious from the tiebreaker.
“That’s not the way you want to go out,” senior co-captain Charlie Hauser said.
Sedro-Woolley moves on to the state quarterfinals. Ridgefield’s season ends with 12 wins, four losses and one tie.
“We struggled through injuries,” said Hauser, who played in just his fifth game on Tuesday after two injuries during the season. “Our whole team was battered throughout the entire year.
That battle continued on Tuesday as defenders David Potter and Brad Abella left the game with injuries. Still, Ridgefield’s defense stood firm against an increasingly desperate Sedro-Woolley attack in the second half. But less than a minute before the final whistle, the visitors got the chance they needed and extended the game to overtime.
Freshman midfielder Adrian Vasquez scored the Cubs’ goal from just inside the penalty area, after a throw-in from the right wing by Timmy Moser bounced off bodies and found him with enough space and time to rifle a shot into the goal.
“We were close” to winning, Ridgefield coach Jason Staley said.
The Spudders grabbed the lead in the eighth minute of the match. Junior Liam Knoeppel scored the goal on his third scoring chance of the opening minutes, re-directing a feed from Dalton Ries into the net.
Playing with wind at its back, Ridgefield had seven first-half scoring chances to only four for Sedro-Woolley. Cubs goalkeeper Michael Moser made three saves before halftime including a quality stop to deny Knoeppel in the 36th minute.
“We had opportunities to put a second one in and we didn’t. Their keeper made a couple of really good saves,” Staley said.
Moser’s big save in the second half was a diving denial of a free kick from 20 yards by Brandon Winn in the 56th minute, one of the few Spudders scoring chances after halftime.
The Cubs had three scoring chances in the first three minutes of the second half but didn’t score. As time ticked away, Sedro-Woolley sent more people forward at every opportunity – even goalkeeper Moser was in the attacking half as time wound down.
“We probably should have tried to possess the ball a little bit better, spread the field out and play out wide,” center back and co-captain Kyle Morris said. “We were just playing a lot of long balls and just giving them more opportunities to play through again.”
Sedro Woolley had the only scoring chance of the overtime, but Kyle Witzel’s breakaway shot in the ninth minute of extra time missed wide.
In the tiebreaker, both teams made each of their first five kicks from the penalty spot.
In the sixth round Michael Moser dove to his left to make a save and the Cubs sixth kicker converted for the win.