Weekend high-school sports roundup
November 8, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
NEW — 4:15 p.m Nov. 8, 2013
The fall sports season for high school athletics is winding down to a close and teams are in the thick of postseason play. Here is a quick roundup of just a few weekend events involving local high school teams.
Win or go home
Both Hazen and Liberty soccer squads will fight to extend their seasons into the state playoffs Nov. 9.
Hazen will face Prairie in a loser-out game at 2 p.m. Nov. 9 at Highline Stadium. If the Highlanders win, it would put them in the state playoffs for the first time since 1992.
It wouldn’t be the first longtime milestone Hazen put to bed this season, though. The Highlanders captured the Seamount League title outright for the first time since 1992, and earned their first victory against Kennedy Catholic since 1999.
“We don’t really talk much about last year’s co-championship, but this one is our real own championship. The first at Hazen girls’ soccer since 1992,” Hazen coach Ken Matthews said in a statement.
Hazen has faced two of the top teams in the state in Auburn Mountainview and Columbia River with the first two rounds of postseason play.
“Auburn Mountainview and Columbia River have team speed that we didn’t see in the Seamount League,” Matthews said. “They were in our deep midfield and defense so quick, and with so much pressure, we can’t get into our pass and move game.”
That’s meant fewer scoring opportunities for Hazen, which had just 10 combined shots in the last two games, compared to their season average of 15 shots a game.
“I’m still optimistic we can reverse those numbers Saturday and get to ‘The Dance,’” Matthews said. “Then you never know what happens after that.”
Liberty, buoyed by a strong second half, will face West Seattle at 3 p.m. Nov. 9 in a loser-out game. The Patriots will host the Wildcats at home.
After losing to Mercer Island in the first round of the KingCo 3A playoffs Nov. 2, the Patriots rebounded in the consolation bracket, defeating Interlake 4-1.
Liberty bested the Islanders in a Nov. 7 rematch to earn the chance to play into the state tournament Nov. 9.
Liberty cross-country aims for the podium
For the first time in school history, the Liberty boys and girls cross-country teams are both making the trek to the state competition in Pasco Nov. 9.
The Liberty boys punched their ticket to state with a fourth place finish in the Oct. 31 Sea-King District meet. It is the first Liberty boys cross-country team to qualify for state.
“As a team, that was their goal, they wanted to go to state and they knew with the senior group we had this year, it was probably the best chance we’ve had in a long time,” Liberty coach Mike Smith said.
The Liberty girls, currently ranked third in the state’s 3A classification, have a good chance to improve on last year’s fifth-place finish at state, Smith said, as long as the team stays healthy.
“This time of year, everybody’s got aches and pains, and it’s just trying to keep them all together,” he said. “This three-week stretch, beginning with KingCo, is so stressful.”
A majority of the team’s varsity runners are local, with nine of the 14 runners calling Newcastle home.
Liberty runners Collin Olson, Andrew Cooper, Trevor Sytsma, Nick and Sarah Bliesner, Michael Daly, Anna Malesis and Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi live in Newcastle.
The girls will race at 12:30 p.m., while the boys compete at 2 p.m. The WIAA Network will have live video coverage from the state competition on its website here.