SUMNER, Wash. – As tough losses go, the St. George’s boys soccer team absorbed an especially tough defeat Friday night.
In a semifinal of the boys State 2B/1B tournament, a one-goal St. George’s lead vanished late in the second half when a disputed handball call ignited a rally by Waitsburg-Prescott that resulted in a 2-1 loss for the Dragons at Sunset Chev Stadium.
St. George’s (14-3-2), which outshot the Tigers 10-7 and dominated play for most of the evening, will play for third place in a noon consolation match today. Waitsburg-Prescott (15-2-2), winless in three previous meetings this season against the Dragons, advances to the championship match at 4.
“It’s so disappointing,” coach Heidi Melville said. “You work so incredibly hard all year, and to see it go down the drain so quickly after dominating the game, it’s really hard.”
The Dragons went up 1-0 in the 49th minute when junior Camus Chapman took a ball from Erik Muelheims and blasted it home to the center of the frame from 15 yards out.
St. George’s continued to control the match until the 66th minute when the Dragons were whistled for a handball inside the penalty box. W-P’s Francisco Gonzalez tied the match with a penalty kick.
Melville questioned the ruling. “It was an awfully brave call,” she said. “You’re supposed to have a hand-to-ball motion (to call a handball), and this just came up and inadvertently hit one of our hands. That was the only thing that was frustrating – to make such a huge, game-changing call on something that shouldn’t have been.”
The Tigers scored the decisive goal in the 73rd minute on a 2-on-1 rush that Luiz Fernando Torres finished with a strong blast from 15 yards out.
“That was just great play by them,” Melville said. “We didn’t track too well through the midfield, and we just let him go through.”
Muelheims said the Dragons, who twice tied W-P and won in overtime in three previous meetings, excelled in all phases except scoring.
“We controlled the ball most of two halves, but just couldn’t put it in the net,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, especially with a call that’s questionable like that.”
Melville had praise for several players on her squad: Karl Muelheims finished with 34 goals this season and more than 100 for his prep career. Erik, his younger brother, displayed “stellar play,” Melville said. Chapman, she said, was steady all year, and were defender Bruce Culbertson, utility player Nathan Furbeyre and sophomore goalkeeper Peter Worrall, who had four saves Friday.