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Blackhawks back in title match

SUMNER, Wash. – Few high school boys soccer teams, regardless of state classification, have been as dominant as the Cheney Blackhawks program the last six seasons.

Four prior appearances in the state championship game, including three straight trips between 2008 and 2010, with only heartbreak and a quartet of runner-up trophies to show for it.

Each one an outstanding season in its own right, but to say the Blackhawks are hungry for a state crown would not sufficiently sum up the team’s desire.

Cheney, however, now finds itself once again just 80 minutes away from losing the bridesmaid tag.

Ian Scimandle scored in the 31st minute, Micah Weller added a goal a minute into the second half and Cheney blanked Ridgefield, 3-0, in the State 2A boys soccer semifinals Friday at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium.

For the fifth time in the last six seasons the Blackhawks will play for the state crown.

“One more win,” Weller said. “Everyone on this team knows what it feels like to lose that last game. We don’t want to feel that way again.”

Cheney (19-2) will take a 16-game winning streak into today’s final against Tyee, a 1-0 (3-1 shootout) winner over Sedro-Woolley in the other semifinal match.

The Blackhawks will face the Totems (15-4-1) at 4 p.m.

“This team knows about tradition. They know about the history. They play for that,” Cheney coach Mark Kiver said. “Everyone wants that prize at the end. But more than anything else this team just like playing together and playing for each other.

“They see the big picture. They just like being around each other.”

Scimandle turned in about as pretty a goal as you’ll find in the first half, weaving his way through numerous Ridgefield defenders before knocking it by Spudders goalie Justin Stay.

Leading 1-0 at the intermission, Cheney wasted little time padding its lead on Weller’s goal.

Stay’s attempt to punch away Weller’s blast from 35 yards out came up just short and the ball tucked in directly under the crossbar to push the Blackhawks’ advantage to 2-0.

“I saw there was space and just went for it,” Weller said about his goal. “I think the goalie got a finger on it and it went in. Lucky for us.”

Trevan Estrellado, assisted by Ian Shirey, closed out the scoring, finding the back of the net in he 56th minute.

During the current 16-game winning streak, the Blackhawks have held opponents to one or fewer goals in six straight matches and 15 out of the last 16.

Goalkeeper Joe Scott, who has had a hand in 11 Cheney shutouts in the winning streak, turned in another stellar performance on Friday, turning away seven shots.