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By David Pan 

Best finish ever for Wolfpack boys | Soccer

 


Jackson shook off the disappointment of a tough semifinal loss to rebound and take third place at the 4A state boys soccer tournament.

With his team trailing 1-0, Wolfpack senior Jacob Williams scored the tying goal and teammate Mohammed Ismail punched in the winning penalty kick in the eighth round of a shootout to lift the Timberwolves to a 2-1 victory over Ferris in the third/fourth place contest Saturday, May 25, at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

Junior goalkeeper Justin Huttinger made what Jackson coach Sarah Smart described as a “phenomenal save” to give his team the opportunity for the win.

Saturday’s victory came less than 24 hours after a 4-0 loss to eventual champion Puyallup in a semifinal clash. The Vikings edged Mount Si 2-1 in the finals later on Saturday.

Smart was proud of her players’ resiliency following Friday’s tough defeat.

“They showed a lot character, grit and determination and a lot of heart,” Smart said. “After a devastating loss, they persevered. They worked together well. Even in the face of overwhelming odds, they found a way to work together and accomplished their goals.”

Even though they weren’t playing for a state title, the players wanted to go out on a high note.

“That’s such an important thing we stressed after the loss to Puyallup,” Smart said. “We’re not competing for a state championship, but we’re still going to end the season on our terms.”

Smart added that in some ways the third/fourth game is a harder game to play than the finals.

“You have to do a little bit of soul searching,” she said. “Why do we play this game? Well, this is our last chance to play together. … To us it meant everything. We just played our hearts out and got rewarded.”

The third-place finish is the highest ever for the program and capped an unforgettable season for Jackson and first-year head coach Smart, who is the head coach for the girls team and previously was an assistant for the boys team.

The Timberwolves (18-2-1) won the Wesco 4A title and the Wes-King District crown. Jackson defeated state runner-up Mount Si 3-2 in the district title contest.

The Wolfpack outscored their league rivals 45-6 and all of their opponents 65-14. The team’s last appearance at state was in 2011.

“I think we exceeded expectations,” Smart said. “I’m over the moon with how the season turned out. … This was a group of hardworking young men who really cared about each other. They really flourished in that team setting.”

 

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