Destiny was on the side of the Washougal soccer family Saturday, at Fishback Stadium.
The Panthers snagged a 2-1 victory against the Aberdeen Bobcats in the quarterfinals of the district tournament.
Goals by sophomores Spencer Carnera and Elesey Razumovskiy gave the Panthers a 2-0 advantage with 23 minutes to go. Five minutes later, Aberdeen put a ball in the net and threatened to tie the game on two penalty kick attempts. Senior goalkeeper Caleb Howard dove left and deflected the first attempt. The last shot by the Bobcats hit the crossbar with 17 seconds left.
“If I block this, we win the game. It hit the bar, but I was right there,” Howard said. “It wasn’t just me. My whole team got together and scored those goals. We came out fierce and we fought for this win like a family. I’m going to remember every moment. These guys are my brothers.”
It was a thrilling victory for seniors Howard, Zach Boland, Sam O’Hara, Jeremiah Palmer, Colton Sullivan and Michael Wright. Washougal advances to the semifinals tonight, at Tumwater High School. Kick off is at 6 p.m. The Panthers are just one win away from qualifying for the state tournament.
“Our seniors are not going to be unsatisfied,” Carnera said. “We are going to do everything we can to make sure they have the best last year of high school.”
Carnera scored the first goal for Washougal on an assist from Razamovskiy in the 17th minute. Razumovskiy split two defenders for the ball, which drew the opposing goalkeeper out of the box. He fired the ball back to Carnera, who chipped it over the keeper and into the open net. The keeper dove back in desperation to save the ball, but it rolled across the goal line first.
Patrick Johnson and Razumovskiy connected on a long scoring try midway through the second half. Johnson put as much force as he could behind the ball, Razumovskiy chased it down went for the goal.
“I prayed to God I had enough power to get it to him,” Johnson said.
Razumovskiy had a few touches on the ball before putting it into the net in one fluid motion.
“I was just calm,” he said. “Just put it in the corner. I didn’t want to over think it. That’s when you make a mistake.”
After coaching the Washougal boys soccer team for more than a decade, John Tyger said he has never been this close to the state playoffs.
“I don’t think these boys are going to be denied,” he said. “It’s going to take a very special team to beat us.”
Destiny could happen tonight in Tumwater.
“We have the strength, the power and the Panther pride to shut them down,” Johnson said.