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Boys Soccer Roundup: Columbia-White Salmon tops King’s Way in OT for 1A district title

Knights fall short 2-1 but show toughness in heat

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: May 11, 2024, 4:57pm
7 Photos
King's Way Christian's Luke Gomes, left, heads the ball over Columbia-White Salmon's Ulices Huerta during the Class 1A boys soccer District 4 championship match on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at Seton Catholic High School.
King's Way Christian's Luke Gomes, left, heads the ball over Columbia-White Salmon's Ulices Huerta during the Class 1A boys soccer District 4 championship match on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at Seton Catholic High School. (Micah Rice/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

With the temperature approaching 90 degrees and amplified by the shadeless Seton Catholic turf, the King’s Way Christian and Columbia-White Salmon boys soccer teams were put to the test Saturday.

If grades were based on resiliency, both teams earned an A-plus.

Columbia got a goal in the sixth minute of overtime to beat King’s Way 2-1 in the Class 1A District 4 championship match.

The Bruins’ first district title since 2010 came after King’s Way forced overtime on Hunter Baron’s headed goal with 12 minutes left in regulation.

That came five minutes after Columbia’s Isaac Reynoso broke a tie in what had been a tense scoreless match.

As players poured water on their hair during each stoppage in play, none of those heads ever sunk after either team suffered bad fortune.

That’s been the story the entire season for King’s Way (9-6). A team that battled injuries reached its first district title match after finishing third in the Trico League.

“We started the season with a lot of injuries and still didn’t have a full healthy roster today,” King’s Way coach Niko DeVera said. “Tie in the heat and it pushed us to our limits. But credit to the Bruins. They’re a good team and not all teams can play like they do. It tested us in different ways.”

After beating rival Seton Catholic in the semifinals to reach their first district championship match, the Knights are headed back to the Class 1A state tournament after making their debut last season.

“It’s credit to all the boys,” DeVera said. “They took care of business on Thursday by beating Seton. That was their biggest goal. Coming into this game they were confident and feeling good. It’s a milestone for this school but for them too because nobody on this team has beaten Seton before.”

King’s Way dropped both regular-season matches to Columbia, including a 3-0 loss April 30.

Less than two weeks later, the Knights were on par with the Trico League co-champs through most of Saturday’s back-and-forth match.

It wasn’t until 17 minutes remained in regulation that either defense blinked. Bruins sophomore forward Isaac Reynoso blasted a low shot from 20 yards inside the right post.

That set off a loud celebration from the roughly 200 fans who traveled from White Salmon with large red and black flags ready to be waved.

But King’s Way wasn’t about to sulk. Five minutes later, Luke Gomes curled a corner kick in front of the goal. That’s where Baron, a senior midfielder, outleapt two Bruins defenders to head the ball into the goal.

The match eventually entered a golden goal overtime. Columbia had a shot on the final kick of overtime’s five-minute first half, but a free kick from just outside the penalty area went wide.

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Shortly after play resumed, Bruins defender Cole Wooding launched a kick from 40 yards toward the goal. The ball went untouched through heavy traffic into the net.

“I was trying to get it to Luke (Miller) but I got lucky and it went in,” Wooding said. ” I haven’t scored too much, but that was an awesome goal to score.”

No. 4 in the 1A RPI rankings, Columbia (14-2) is headed to the state tournament for the third consecutive season.

“We’re not really like the club players,” Wooding said. “We don’t play year-round. We work hard but we’re also smart. We’re not just kicking the ball and running along.”

King’s Way meanwhile will head to state relying on the same late-season resiliency that was on display Saturday.

“Today was a loss from them but they’re still in a good position,” DeVera said. “It’s really just about relaxing, keeping our heads and enjoying the process.”

SETON CATHOLIC 2, LA CENTER 0 – The Cougars scored twice in the second half to prevail in a winner-to-state, loser-out match. Goal details were not available.

4A Bi-District Tournament

TAHOMA 2, UNION 0 – The Titans’ season came to an end in a winner-to-state, loser-out match in Lakewood. The 4A Greater St. Helens League co-champs went 1-3 in the bi-district tournament.

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