Tenino coach Kevin Schultz had one message for his team before their district playoff match against Stevenson Saturday: make it worth it.
The Beavers did just that.
Powered by goals from sophomore Max Craig and Takari Hickle, Tenino held off Stevenson for a 2-1 victory to claim fourth place in the 1A District 4 Boys Soccer Tournament.
In a normal year, one where the state tourney wasn’t scuttled due to the pandemic, the fourth-place finish would have secured the Beavers a state tournament bid.
“The boys were excited about that,” Schultz said. “I didn’t tell them until after the game. I wish they had the opportunity to compete at state.”
It was a turnaround year for a Beavers team that notched their first district win in at least 11 years just two days earlier. This group of eight seniors — Zack Russell, Chris Ramez, Owen Jacobsen, Terrance Taylor, Will Tennehill, Cameron Farley, Anthony Levi and Angel Espinoza — went from having no season as freshmen due to lack of turnout, to finishing fourth at district and qualifying for state in a normal year.
“It’s a good sign for them and the program,” Schultz said. “Really special for the kids. I’m proud of them.”
The Beavers would not be denied Saturday, even after a three-hour bus ride to play Stevenson on the Bulldogs’ own field.
Craig opened the scoring in the 56th minute off an assist by Ramez. Hickle then found the back on the net on a set piece where Ramez aimed for Hickle’s head and Hickle flicked it just enough with his shoulder to change the direction of the ball and into the net.
Stevenson scored a goal in the 80th minute, the Beavers only lapse on defense in what was an overall solid performance by the defensive line.
Keeper Alex Reichelderfer recorded nine saves, and Schultz praised him along with Toby Suess, for his performance defending. The Beavers end their season with an 8-5 overall record.
“They stuck to the mission,” Schultz said of his team. “Really special moment.”