Hazen soccer clinches Seamount League championship
May 1, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
After about 75 minutes of scoreless play in the Hazen High School soccer team’s April 26 contest against Kennedy Catholic, senior Devin Sando was sitting on the bench with a bloody nose. Just a few spots next to him sat freshman Reyes Garcia, on the sidelines because of a yellow card.
As the Highlanders were about to approach the game’s final minutes, Hazen coach Ken Matthews was forced to put Garcia and Sando back in to spell some of the other players. It would prove to be an ingenious decision.
In the 79th minute, Sando connected on a corner kick from Garcia for the goal that crowned Hazen the Seamount League champions for the second consecutive year. Senior keeper Freddy Jeronimo recorded the shutout for the Highlanders.
“For me, you remember all of the games, but you really remember a few,” Matthews said. “For those 19 guys we have on our varsity roster and everyone that we had in the stands, they’re going to remember that the rest of their lives.”
It was the ideal exclamation mark to what has been a nearly perfect season for the playoff-bound Highlanders. At press time, Hazen had an 11-1-3 record with the only blemish a nonleague loss to Interlake.
Days after the memorable game, coaches, players and fans still couldn’t help but smile when talking about the match, Matthews said.
“As their fan, not necessarily their coach, just to see that happen for them, just for them to be able to pull that off and get that win against Kennedy, it’s phenomenal,” he said. “Anytime you can clinch a league championship and do it in that dramatic of a fashion, it’s very rewarding.”
Hazen is among the top teams in the state, ranked sixth in the 3A classification according to Score Czar, based on results through April 28. Score Czar offers computer rankings based solely on numbers.
The team is flattered by the ranking, Matthews said, but they understand it does not really mean much.
“I always tell the kids that they have this cool thing at the end of the year called the state tournament where you really find out where you’re ranked,” he said.
This year’s league championship is a little sweeter than last year’s, after the league slightly altered the way points were calculated to determine the winner, Matthews said.
“We feel like we earned this one. This one, in my opinion, is so much better,” he said.
The senior leadership on the 2013 team has also led to more cohesiveness than last year, the Hazen coach added, something that can only bode well as the team heads into the playoffs.
“We kind of know who we are and when you know who you are and what you have to do to win games, you just do it,” he said.
Hazen’s Bunnell racks up awards
The play of Hazen High School senior Sam Bunnell has caught the attention of people across the state this season.
After a week in which Bunnell accumulated six goals and two assists against Foster and Lindbergh, he was named a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association athlete of the week.
Just a few weeks later, The Seattle Times named him a star of the week, after he netted four goals and six assists against Highline and Foster.
“He just has a presence on the field,” Hazen coach Ken Matthews said. “I believe he’s a guy that will do very well in the future in life and with soccer.”
Bunnell will continue his playing career in college at Southern Virginia University.