New life: SHS boys soccer advances in state after Toppenish forfeit

A record-breaking season for Sequim High School’s boys soccer squad — one that looked over after a loss in the opening round of the state 2A tournament earlier this week — has new life.

Toppenish, who beat Sequim 7-1 in the state tourney opener on May 15, used an ineligible player in the game and forfeited the game to Sequim, SHS athletic director Dave Ditlefsen said Friday morning.

That means Sequim advances to the state quarterfinals after picking up their first state victory, albeit one by forfeit.

According to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, Sequim will now take on Burlington-Edison at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Sedro-Wolley High School.

The Wolves (14-5-2 with the forfeit victory) looked out of energy playing at Toppenish on May 15 — their fifth game in 10 days — said Sequim coach Dave Brasher.

“We gave it our best (but) we kind of completely ran out of gas,” he said.

The game was actually close, he noted, through the 60-minute mark.

Toppenish, playing on their grass field under 90-degree temperatures, opened the scoring in the third minute, the Wildcats’ first trek downfield.

“We’ve handled that before,” Brasher said about the early deficit.

Toppenish made it 2-0 on what Brasher called a “fluky” play in which a ball deflected off of Sequim defender Mathew Craig’s head to his hand, resulting in a penalty kick. Toppenish converted it for a two-score lead at 24 minutes.

It stayed that way through halftime and until the 52nd minute, when Sequim’s Liam Harris got a free kick and knocked it in on a curving shot into an upper corner, halving the Wildcat lead to 2-1.

“We kind of took it to them,” Brasher said. “It was a game.”

The proverbial back-breaker, the Sequim coach noted, was at about 60 minutes when, after a “good build-up” senior Wildcat midfielder Cristobal Cervantes ripped a left-footed shot for a score that gave Toppenish an insurance goal.

A break-away score moments later put the game out of reach.

“We kind of went for it (and) left only a couple of guys back,” Brasher said, leading to more Toppenish scores.

Harris left the game with a hamstring injury with about 15 minutes left, while defender Brandon Benson and forward Hayuk Minano was also hurt.

“We were kind of stretched physically,” Brasher said.

The Sequim coach expressed some frustration about the game, after seeing his team play three days prior and having to make a five-hour-plus bus ride. The team didn’t find out about the game location and time until Monday morning.

“The WIAA needs to change (game scheduled for teams who) travel over fours hours; (they) should not play that game on Tuesday,” he said.

Several other state 2A tourney opening round games were played on Wednesday.

“It was a great 27-hour trip; the only bad part was the 90 minutes on the field,” he said.

“Despite all that,” Brasher said a day after the defeat, “it was an awesome season.”

One that isn’t over just yet.

Sequim, by the numbers (so far)

Through the game against Toppenish, the Wolves have set a number of records this spring.

Sequim has four players (Harris, Minano, Ryan Tolberd, Mike McAleer) with at least 10 goals.

Harris set the school record for career goals in a campaign, netting his 41st against Port Angeles on April 24 to snap Kai Antrim’s mark of 40 (2005-2008). Harris now had 44 career goals after his tally against Toppenish.

Tolberd scored a hat trick against Orting in the opening round of the West Central District tourney against Orting for scores 17, 18 and 19, to break Casey Nagler’s single-season scoring record of 18 goals set in 2005. Tolberd now has 21 scores heading into Saturday’s game against Burlington-Edison.

Minano broke the single-season assist mark of set by Vann Brasher in 2004; Minano got the school record with his 14th assist on May 8, a 3-2 district tourney loss to Highline. He added a 15th in a 2-1 win over Kingston two days later.

Sequim racked up 76 goals in 21 games — both school records.

“These kids were awesome,” Brasher said.

By virtue of the forfeit, the Wolves also pick up their first state tourney win. Sequim has appeared in three state tournaments but was knocked out each time: once in a shootout (2004) and twice by 1-0 counts (2009, 2010) against Bellingham.

The Wolves’ 14 wins is tied for second all-time (2003, 2014). The 2004 Sequim High squad set the school benchmark with a 16-win season.