Amidst a lot of controversy, Mount Si’s boys soccer team has district title victory snagged from them by the jaws of a penalty-kick shootout defeat to Jackson

Mount Si High School senior boys’ soccer player Mateo DiDomenico (center) gets set to attempt a free kick towards the goal in last night’s Wes-King 4A district boys’ soccer title game between the Wildcats and Jackson. This shot connected with teammate Paul Talens, who then headed it in for a goal that gave Mount Si a 2-1 lead in a contest they’d end up falling in on a penalty-kick shootout, costing them the championship. (Rhett Workman/SVSJ)

All season long, Mount Si High School’s boys’ soccer team has been eyeing the prize. A state title. And on the way, they had other accomplishments they wanted to achieve too. They had, coming into last night’s Wes-King 4A title game, already accomplished another big goal – winning the Kingco title. Last night was step two on their three-step plan to glory, and it appeared as if they were going to get that done against Jackson. But just as the final whistle was about to sound, the rails fell off in a big way, and Mount Si’s boys could not fulfill their stated objective.

With the Wildcats up 2-1 in stoppage time in regulation, and perhaps with just seconds left before the final whistle was about to blow as noted, Jackson was fouled in the penalty area by Mount Si and converted the resulting penalty kick to send this to overtime tied 2-2. Penalty kicks were needed to decide this in the end, and Jackson’s goalkeeper Justin Huttinger made the one and only save of the session, giving the Timberwolves the 3-2 win (6-5 in the penalty kick shootout) and a district title that many in their rooting section thought was lost just minutes prior.

This game was expected to be a doozy, and it was. It started out the same way Tuesday night’s Mount Si playoff game with Mariner did – with a goal in the early minutes. Instead of it being the Wildcats breaking the ice, it was Jackson doing it a minute in on a breakaway, with the shot being fired past Mount Si goalie Colby Ramsey in the first minute and the Timberwolves were leading and already showing everyone on the Wildcat sideline they were who Mount Si thought they were, a reference to the famous quote uttered some 15 years ago now by the late pro football coach Dennis Green.

So it remained this way until the 11th minute, when Jared Davies was on the doorstep to take a Jake Jimenez throw in and rip it home top shelf to tie things at 1-1. It stayed this way through halftime and until the 53rd minute. A foul resulted in a Mateo DiDomenico free kick. He fired it in towards goal, and waiting there was a guy who a lot of distance running folks at Mount Si – including their coach Sean Sundwall – expect will be the top returner this fall for the Wildcats’ boys’ cross country team. His name is Paul Talens and instead of using his speed and stamina, he used his head to finish the connection from his senior teammate DiDomenico and give Mount Si the 2-1 lead.

And it stayed this way until way late in stoppage time, and that’s when tremendous controversy ensued. A Mount Si defender dove to get the ball out of danger near their net, but instead collided with a Jackson player, resulting in a foul call. The call was met with disapproval from the Wildcat bench and fans. With the foul having been in the penalty area, a penalty kick was awarded, which the Timberwolves converted, and Jackson had new life, rescued essentially from the dead in this one going to overtime.

Continuing protests presumably about that call and other calls and no-calls made during the game by officials resulted in a brief, but perhaps heated, exchange between Mount Si coach Darren Brown and officials which resulted in the coach’s rare, but quick, ejection from the game with two rapidly-assessed yellow cards resulting in a red card and the exit from the field right after the penalty kick was made. The Wildcats’ fans loudly voiced their disapproval of the ejection. Brown notified the SVSJ by text message after the game that since there was not a straight red issued, a suspension, which is normal in cases like this, was not applied so he will be coaching the state playoff game expected to be next Tuesday or Wednesday here at Mount Si. Officials were busy in this one, issuing several yellow cards throughout the contest to players and coaches on both teams (in addition to Brown, one of his assistant coaches also received a yellow card earlier in the second half).

So with that as the backdrop, the game went to overtime, and while the Wildcats had a couple of chances to score a golden-goal game-winner, nothing made it to the net and that sent this thing to penalty kicks after the two five-minute overtime sessions and brought the student sections from both schools down to field level where everyone started cheering their teams on and making life miserable for the opposing shooters in that shootout session. Both teams went 5-5 in the regulation series of penalty kicks, sending that to sudden-death. And in the first round of that, Jackson made their shot, giving Mount Si’s Erik Davies a chance to keep this going with a goal. But the shot was stopped by Huttinger and a delirious Jackson team stormed the field in celebration, knowing they were that close to not actually winning this thing, but they found a way to get it done and bring home the trophy.

Mount Si will open at home against the fifth seed from the Southwest/West Central District tournament. The game to determine this seeding is tomorrow morning down at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, with Auburn Mountainview facing Sumner. So there’s a good chance the first-round game will be a rematch of last season’s state first-round playoff matchup between the Wildcats and Sumner’s Spartans in which Sumner won that game. The game tomorrow is at 10am with the state playoffs, as noted already, likely starting next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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