Only one word needed to be said when Summit broke the team huddle following Wednesday night’s second-round playoff match.
The Storm advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Class 6A boys soccer state playoffs after a 4-0 win over No. 9 Liberty, keeping their goal of the past five months alive.
“From the start of this summer, we just kept saying ‘let’s run it back,’” said senior midfielder Kamdon Simmons. “We want to get back to the state championship, that’s our only goal.”
After beating Liberty of Hillsboro in the second round for the second straight season, Summit is now two wins away from realizing its goal. The Storm play a quarterfinal match Saturday at No. 1 seed Jesuit in Portland.
“We had a lot of energy in this game,” said Summit senior goalkeeper Khael Engelman. “We got really hyped for this game and we took them down and we played all 80 minutes.”
Summit struck first when Simmons rebounded a missed shot to score five minutes into the match. Summit coach Ron Kidder said that an early goal helped calm down his players while putting pressure on Liberty to respond.
“Once we get that first goal,” Simmons said, “we can sit back and keep possession and then we can try and score goals and attack.”
But in the first half, it was Liberty that kept possession and strung together threatening scoring opportunities. Each time, the Summit defense held firm.
“All the guys that played the back line were solid and played error-free,” Kidder said. “Engelman in goal was spotless today. All five of those guys had outstanding games.”
Engelman turned in his second clean sheet in as many games in the postseason.
“(Liberty) threw a lot at us,” Engelman said. “We stay composed, we were the first to every ball, that was really great.”
Summit’s lead doubled quickly in the second half. Just as they had in the first, the Storm scored off a rebounded shot. Senior forward Kyle Capdevila had his initial shot blocked on a sliding save by Liberty’s goalkeeper. A second Summit blocked shot bounced back to Capdevila, whose shot just barely crossed the goal line after hitting the crossbar.
But even the 2-0 lead was not safe — not with Liberty’s Jacob McDaniel on the other side.
“He was the one that we had to make sure to keep a body on all night long,” Kidder said. “Two goals can disappear really quickly.”
But three- and four-goal deficits are more challenging to overcome. Simmons added his second goal on a penalty kick with 21 minutes remaining. Then sophomore defender Rory McKee, the hero of Summit’s first-round win, converted a free kick from 25 yards out to give the Storm a 4-0 advantage with five minutes remaining.
“We really took advantage of all our opportunities today,” Kidder said.
To run it back and reach the state title game for a second straight season, the Storm will next have to beat the team that bested them in the 2018 title game — Jesuit. The Crusaders defeated No. 17 South Eugene 4-1 on Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals.
Jesuit beat Summit in penalty kicks to win the state title last year. With the bulk of last season’s squad returning, the Storm figure to be hungry for another shot at the Crusaders.
“They are confident from last year,” Kidder said. “And that’s carried over to this year.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. The original version misspelled the name of Summit goalie Khael Engelman. The error was the result of an incorrect roster spelling.