Thunderbirds clobber Pierce to claim third straight west title

By Konner Hancock - Staff Reporter

With two more wins last week, the Highline men's soccer team claimed its third straight NWAC West Division title.

"We always set team goals at the start of each season. The first was to win our division. We put in a great effort all season and reached that goal," said Head Coach Steve Mohn. "Our ultimate goal for the season is to win the NWAC Championship."

Highline was ranked No. 2 in the most recent NWAC Coaches poll, behind arch-rival Peninsula. The division title gives Highline a better draw in the first round of the playoffs.

The T-Birds get a first-round bye, and likely will face between the winner of a first-round game between the North Division No. 2 team and the East Division No. 3. Currently those teams are Whatcom (9-4-2) and North Idaho (6-7-4).

As another successful season reaches its conclusion, the T-Birds feel like they have a serious chance at the championship, said Mohn.

"I think we have the ability to reach that goal. There are a lot of things that have to happen for teams to win championships. It won't be easy," he said. "But If we keep working hard to reach that goal, I don't see why we can't make a good playoff run and lift another trophy."

Highline clinched the division title with a 6-0 win over Pierce.

"We played really well as a team. We were solid defensively all game which gave us the opportunity to really get into the attack. It was a great team effort. Scoring six goals on a team is difficult," said Mohn.

The first half started with sophomore forward Jandja Maharero scoring in the sixth minute with the assist coming from Jason Rodriguez. Then mid first half, Maharero struck again with the assist coming from goalkeeper Julian Tafolla.

"The first two goals just helped us relax, like we weren't on our nerves anymore, we were more calm and played the game how we wanted to play it," said Maharero.

The second half of the game began with freshman midfielder Brandon Gonzalez notching a goal assisted by midfielder Mohamed Jeylani. The onslaught continued with midfielder Mitchell Balmer, defender Darius Saelee and defender Alan Curiel each notching a goal, assisted by Cody Parke, Rodriguez and midfielder Toyokazu Yuminaga.

"I'm very proud of the whole team. They have put in the hard work and it has paid off," said Steve Mohn, the Head Coach of the men's soccer team.

Highline's final regular season game was Wednesday against Tacoma, with results unavailable at press time. Tacoma gave Highline its only loss of the season earlier this fall.

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