Friday’s Boys Soccer: United Topples Two-Time State Champs in Semis
One More Shot: Malunat Scores Twice to Give Toledo-Winlock 2-1 Win on Overlake
By Jordan Nailon
SUMNER — After starting the season with four straight ties the Toledo-Winlock team United has rattled off 17 straight victories to reach the State 1A Boys Soccer Tournament title game.
Here on Friday, United marked off the second to last box on their season checklist and punched their ticket to the championship game with a 2-1 defeat of Overlake. The Owls came into the game as the two-time defending state champion, so the win is about as close to an upset as you’ll find for a team that’s already league champs, district champs, and sporting an undefeated record.
The teams were knotted in a scoreless tie at intermission but United took a 1-0 lead four minutes into the second half when he drove in a direct kick from a couple dozen yards out. Senior Andreas Malunat said his team was starting to feel the pressure after finding themselves locked in a stalemate for such an extended stretch.
“We knew we needed to get some free kicks or corners because those are our best chances because we can get a head on it or shoot it and I just hit it over the scrum of people so the goalkeeper couldn’t hit it,” explained Malunat. “It went far post and I think Gustavo (Barragan) ducked his head right at the last minute so the goalkeeper didn’t know where the ball went so it just went in the net.”
While the United faithful were already planning what they’d wear to Saturday’s championship game, Overlake had other plans. Within five minutes the Owls had put up multiple shots deep inside United territory that required expert saves from goalkeeper Alan Contreras.
In the 66th minute, however, United allowed a crack in their defensive front that permitted Ronny Torres to punch in a score from point blank range off of a direct kick rebound.
“I think it’s like the hornet’s nest. We shook it. We were kind of poking at it and then we shook the heck out of it and then the hornets came out and they were pissed,” said United coach Horst Maluant. “We had guys working hard and couldn’t clear the ball and that’s what happens against a good team. They’re going to capitalize on your mistakes and they did.”
That ferocious attack by Overlake continued for almost the entire game as the Owls put up 21 shots compared to just seven shots from United. In the end, though, all that mattered was that the team from Toledo and Winlock made the most of their opportunities.
After the game was tied, and as time grew short, things got tense on the United sideline and quiet on their half of the grandstands. All the while the Owls bench was bombastic as they anticipated taking a lead that never did come.
Then, just as the clock wound down into stoppage time, United got the break they’d been waiting for what seemed like nearly all their lives.
“They had a lot of momentum and we got a lucky little counter attack and Gus (Barragan) went by a couple of guys and got taken down in the box. Then I told Gustavo and Captain Isaac that I’ve got this penalty and we’re going to win this game,” explained the younger Malunat.
With his team’s dreams of a shot at a state championship riding on the shot the senior midfielder held true to his word with a toe dart down and to the left that skirted by the Owl’s goalkeeper.
“Andreas is pretty good. I know he’s my kid but I kind of felt like he wants to win more than I do maybe sometimes so I thought he was going to bury it,” said coach/dad Malunat. “Gustavo created it. He battled hard. Everybody. There’s not a kid out there who I couldn’t say worked their butt off today.”
The United coach then went on to rattle off a long list of praise for his players.
“Brian (Wood) got a busted nose. Ivan (Cibrian) played well. Brandon (Cruz) went down. He had a cramp and I thought he was out, but he’ll be back for tomorrow. And then Eucario (Contreras) played one his his best games in two years of coaching him.”
Stoppage time was an extended affair due to an injury Cruz sustained in the final six minutes of regulation but the United defense held strong to preserve the one goal win. Cruz even shook off his cramp in time to celebrate postgame with his teammates.
“They are the two-time defending state champs so they’ve been here and done that. They have a lot of seniors. They wanted to win another one. Just like we have a lot of seniors. We just wouldn’t give up and kept pressing,” said coach Malunat.
His son agreed with his father. He also noted that after losing to Overlake in the first round of the state playoffs his sophomore year and then tying them in a non-league affair last year, it was a relief to finally fell the Owls.
“It just feels really good to take down Overlake,” said Malunat. “My first two years we’d always get eliminated in the first round even though we’d win districts and it sucked. And we really wanted to make it to the final four. It was the first time we’d made it and we’re glad we’re in the championship. This is the first championship I’ve ever played in and it feels pretty amazing.”
Earlier in the day Vashon Island defeated Lakeside so United will take on the Pirates tomorrow at 3 p.m.
“They’re good. They’re tall and they’re big and they’re just like every other team we’ve played,” said coach Malunat of Vashon Island. “It’s going to be another battle.”
United will play Vashon Island on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Sunset Stadium in Sumner.