RENTON – At the beginning of the season, Antonio Buckley had Seattle Academy and his own Seton Catholic boys soccer team taking different paths.
And yet on Friday at Renton Memorial Stadium, the Cardinals and the Cougars crossed paths.
The big and athletic Cardinals made it difficult for the Cougars to respond, allowing Seattle Academy to roll to a 4-0 win in the Class 1A state semifinal.
“At the start of the season, we kind of picked (Seattle Academy) to win it all, just because we played them last year and they brought their whole team back,” Buckley said. “We knew it was going to be a mountain to climb. When we came out of the tunnel, we saw that these kids are huge.”
The Cardinals were patient and deliberate in their attack with crisp passes from the backline setting up attacks. Seattle Academy punched through with its first goal in the 19th minute, and Seton Catholic was fortunate to go into the intermission down just 1-0.
But when the Cardinals opened the second half with two quick goals, the match was pretty much decided.
“We knew it was going to be tough game,” Buckley said. “And we made some mistakes. But a team like this that comes from a really tough league, probably the best in the state, they are used to playing tough games. As you could tell, they were so calm. They were trusting everything that they were doing.”
While Seattle Academy brought back almost its entire squad from last season, Seton Catholic graduate several key players last season and brought back a very young squad.
And yet, here they were in the state semifinals.
“The first day of practice, I was like ‘Oh my gosh. This is going to be a tough season,’ ” Buckley said. “We’re young. super young. So this game was awesome to see what we need to do. And we’ll be back. This was a good experience for us.”
The Cougars will be back at Renton Memorial on Saturday, as they face Highland of Cowiche for third place at 11 a.m.
“No matter what, we’ll be one of the top four teams out of about 60 in the state,” Buckley said. “It’s tough to lose in the state semifinal game, but this year has been super successful. And we still have something to play for.”
SEATTLE ACADEMY 4, SETON CATHOLIC 0
Goalkeeper saves – Zach Catherall 3, Dylan Hamilton 2.
Goals – Ameyan Dash, Laith Cutler, Cutler, Owen Wright. Goalkeeper saves – Rhys Lindhorst 2, Eneko Gerard 2.
Halftime – Seattle Academy 1-0