There’s a lot at stake on Friday night when the Issaquah and Redmond high school boys soccer teams clash.
For Issaquah, the stakes are higher and more historical.
With a win in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. showdown at Issaquah, the Eagles can wrap up the school’s first appearance the KingCo 4A championship match. Also, still at stake by winning out in its final three regular-season matches is the first KingCo 4A regular-season crown in school history.
“It would be huge [to win],” Issaquah first-year head coach Kyle Tatro said. “They’ve never been to this game [KingCo 4A championship]. It would just be a good statement on all the hard work the team has put in.
“It means with two games left in the season, if we win, we would clinch a spot in that [title] game. No one game can be more important than the other, but we want to be in control of our own destiny.”
Issaquah (9-0-1) enters the big match with a 7-0-0 record and 21 points atop the KingCo 4A standings while the third-place Mustangs (7-3-1 overall) come in at 5-1-1 and 16 points. Skyline (9-0-3 overall) sits second in the standings with a 6-0-1 and 19 points.
Should the Eagles fail to clinch the conference title with a win, the race for the top will likely come down to the regular-season finale on Thursday, May 1 at Skyline. The Spartans host Eastlake on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Issaquah has posted eight victories in a row, the last six by shutout, outscoring opponents 11-0 during that shutout stretch.
Redmond, playing its final season under retiring head coach Patrick Scheibe, is 5-1-1 in its last seven matches with three shutouts and a goals advantage of 17-8 in that time frame.
“We’ve had lots of really good senior leadership,” said Scheibe, who coached the Mustangs’ girls program for a total of 21 seasons – two stints — and the boys’ program for the last 20 seasons. “We have 20 guys and they all contribute, and that’s a little unusual. We’re not dependent on one person.”
Issaquah opened its doors in 1901, but didn’t start its boys soccer program until much later. Still, a win Friday would be a historical happening for the school.
The Eagles are led in scoring by Ryan Higgins (6 goals, 1 assist), Josh Zhou (5 goals, 3 assists) and in goal by Saif Kerawala (7 shutouts).
Redmond, which returned six starters from 2013, is led by senior forward Stephen Jinneman (5 goals, 5 assists), senior midfielder Ryan Pfeifer (5 goals, 2 assists) and senior goalkeeper Grayson Raffensperger (5 shutouts).
“Ryan’s a quiet guy who can do about six different jobs on the field,” Scheibe said.
The matchup is as much a test of opposite strengths as anything – Issaquah defense vs. Redmond offense.
“Redmond is a good squad, very talented and capable of scoring a lot of goals,” Tatro said. “It should be a very good match. We’ve been known for our defense to this point and they are known for their offense.”
Scheibe sees the key match in the same light. His club stands in the way of history for Issaquah.
Key KingCo 4A boys soccer match
Friday, April 25, 2014: Redmond at Issaquah, 7:30 p.m.