Men's soccer team loses in semis

By Konner Hancock - Staff Reporter

The Highline men's soccer team had a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals against Spokane, 2-1.

On Nov. 11, the T-Birds took to the field against the Sasquatch in pursuit of a win that would give them a chance at the Northwest Athletic Conference championship title. The majority of the game was a defensive battle with most of the goals being scored in the later moments of the second half.

"However it wasn't just the defense, it was everyone's lack of focus that causes us to make simple mistakes," said forward Jandja Maharero.

The team was tired and worn out. That is a major reason to why the T-Birds lost it later in the game, said Maharero.

The first goal was scored by a Spokane defender Kelly Kyllo early after half time.

"We made a couple tactical changes at halftime and it switched the momentum our way. We were contemplating switching in the first half but waited to make sure everyone was on the same page," said Steve Mohn, the Highline head coach.

After the first goal, the game went scoreless for 30 more minutes before another goal was notched.

The Sasquatch Player Hector Magana struck, scoring in the last four minutes which seemed to secure the win.

However, a minute later freshman midfielder Mohamed Jeylani rallied and quickly scored to give Highline a fighting chance. But it proved to be too little, time ran out and the game was called.

Spokane moved on to the finals where they met the underdog Tacoma Titans. The No. 6 Titans ended up besting the No. 3 Sasquatch, 2-1.

Both teams had major sophomore power with Spokane's 14 and Tacoma's 12, they had the most sophomores on their rosters of any other team that was in the tournament. 

But in the end Tacoma's All-Star goalkeeper Evan Munn made the difference with five saves and only letting one ball get past him.

"Although we didn't reach our ultimate goal of winning the NWAC championship, we still accomplished great things. We won the western conference title for a third year in a row, and had the lowest goals against average in the NWAC," said Highline's Mohn.

The T-Birds also had five players voted on to the NWAC South West All-Star team: defender Marco Monzon, midfielder Tucker Davidson, Jeylani, midfielder Brandon Gonzalez, and Maharero.

The All-Star game was played two days after the semifinals where North East dominated, 5-1.

Mohn said that there will be lots of returning players next year from this year's team and that they will be ready to make another try at the trophy.

"I'm sure all of our guys are going to be fired up to make another playoff run next year," he said.

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