SUMNER, Wash. – Northwest Christian High senior forward Austin Friedly remembers sitting in the stands at Sunset Chev Stadium as a seventh-grader in 2007 watching his older brother Jared celebrate the school’s first Class 1B/2B boys state soccer title.
He started dreaming about the day he’d have an opportunity to win one for himself.
That day is finally here, and the younger Friedly had a lot to do with it.
With his older brother watching from the stands, Friedly tallied a hat trick and the Crusaders took advantage of a couple of early goals, knocking off Mount Vernon Christian, 5-1, on Friday night in the semifinals of the State 1B/2B boys soccer tournament at Sunset Chev Stadium.
Northwest Christian (14-4) will face league rival St. George’s, a 1-0 winner over Providence Classical Christian, in today’s 4 p.m. championship game.
“I just wanted to get a win, I didn’t care how we did it,” said Friedly, who has 33 goals and 30 assists on the season. “Usually I’m the one who gives the assists. But God blessed me with a hat trick, and I’ll take it.”
It didn’t take Northwest Christian long to break through and seize momentum. Payton Gray got an open look in the middle of the field from about 30 yards out and lined a shot into the left corner of the goal past Mount Vernon goalkeeper Jesse Ketcham in just the third minute.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better start,” Northwest Christian coach Mica Lamb said. “For our young guys who were a little bit nervous, that took all that away from them getting on the board early.”
The Crusaders struck again when Jacob Weaver centered a ball for Friedly, who corralled it, split two defenders and fired it past Ketcham in the 10th minute.
But the Crusaders, who scored more goals than any team in the state this year, let loose in the second half. Weaver added to the lead in the 43rd minute, hammering a shot home from the left side that ricocheted off the hands of Ketcham and in, giving the senior 57 goals on the year. Friedly added two more goals, one in the 49th minute and another in the 68th, to pad the lead.
The stage is set now for a championship match between two teams who know each other very well. But the Crusaders (17-2) have yet to beat St. George’s this year in three meetings.
In St. George’s victory, junior forward Erik Muelheims took advantage of a mistake by Providence Classical Christian goalkeeper Daniel Mathiason, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime and sending the Dragons to the championship game.
Mathiason came out of the goal to field a ball that was tapped back to him in the 84th minute, but mishandled it. Muelheims corralled the loose ball, took one dribble and fired a shot into the wide-open goal. It was the Dragons’ lone shot on goal in overtime.
After a first half where the teams combined for just eight shots on goal, St. George’s (16-2) outshot the Highlanders, 12-2, in the second half but couldn’t break through.
Providence Classical finished the season 13-6.