Kamiak earns first state playoff berth in 8 years | Boys soccer

Knights upend rival Mariner 2-1 to extend their postseason run
By David Pan | May 19, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Kamiak’s Cade Cooke (3) celebrates scoring the winning goal in overtime, as the Knights defeated Mount Vernon 4-3 in a loser-out District 1 tournament game Thursday, May 11, at Lake Stevens High School. Kamiak then went on to beat Mariner 2-1 to earn a berth to this week’s state tournament.

What a difference four days makes.

After losing 5-0 to arch rival Mariner in a district semifinal game, Kamiak rebounded with its most important victory of the season.

Andre’ Hamilton and Soren Pehlivanian scored goals to lead the Knights to a 2-1 win over the Marauders in a winner-to-state/loser-out 4A District 1 boys soccer tournament game Saturday, May 13, at Lake Stevens High School.

The last time Kamiak advanced to the state tournament was in 2009.

“The guys worked hard all season long,” Knights coach Kosta Pitharoulis said. “They took their lumps against Mariner the last time. So it was awesome that they were able to rebound the way they did and pull out the win tonight.”

Hamilton gave Kamiak a 1-0 lead off an assist by Cade Cooke in the 11th minute. Pehlivanian extended the advantage to 2-0 with a goal from a pass by Zach Stancik at the 60-minute mark.

“The goal was pretty good,” Pehlivanian said. “We’re going to state. That’s all I care about.”

Pehlivanian’s goal proved to be critical, as Mariner’s Edward Katynskiy scored in the 77th minute to cut the Kamiak lead to 2-1.

The Marauders pushed forward to try and score the tying goal in the final 13 minutes of regulation, but the Kamiak defense preserved the lead.

“We said once we scored ‘everyone go back and defend,’” Pehlivanian said.

Pitharoulis described Saturday’s game with district rival Mariner as the perfect storm for his squad. The Knights (13-5-2 overall) defeated Mount Vernon 4-3 in overtime in a loser-out game on Thursday, May 11. Mariner (12-5-2) lost 1-0 to Glacier Peak in the district championship game, also on Thursday, May 11.

“We were coming off a win, which is great,” Pitharoulis said. “They had a tough one against Glacier Peak. I’ve been in that situation with my other teams and it’s hard to get the team refocused after a tough district title loss. So I feel for (coach) Vince (DeSimone) because he has a really nice team.”

Cooke scored off a corner kick in the fifth minute over overtime to lead the Knights over the Bulldogs. It was Cooke’s second goal of the contest. Hamilton and Jason Kim also scored goals for Kamiak.

The Knights were scheduled to play Olympia in a first round 4A state tournament game on Tuesday, May 16, after the Beacon’s deadline.

Kamiak beat Mariner twice during the regular season and that success may have factored into the semifinal loss.

“I wouldn’t say we came in overconfident,” Pitharoulis said. “But I don’t think we had the same intensity that we had during the regular season.”

The Knights fell behind 2-0 and then shifted some players forward in order to try and score.

“That’s kind of what led to the floodgates, making it a 5-0 game,” Pitharoulis said. “Toward the end of the game … we had two defenders.”

Mariner’s Luis Zuniga-Bedolla scored two goals. Efren Martinez, Bakary Dibba and Dullo Jallow also had goals.

The Knights made some adjustments in Saturday’s rematch, but more than anything the players were mentally prepared.

“I talked to the kids about it, what they wanted to do,” Pitharoulis said. “So there was a lot of input from them and what they felt the most comfortable with. … There’s nothing really new that we can work on at this point. It’s really just making sure their minds are ready and focused on the task at hand.”

NOTE – DIVERSE ROSTER: The Mariner boys soccer team has players who hail from eight different countries besides the United States. The countries include Mexico, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Gambia, Argentina, Iraq and Bosnia.

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