LAKE STEVENS — A dark horse prospect for a playoff berth out of Wesco North, Lake Stevens played for the life of their season and defeated Arlington 1-0.
As a 3A team, Arlington already had its postseason invite secured, but the Eagles still had a stake in the game.
“We were honestly looking for a win,” said Arlington coach Mike Gudgeon. “At this point, all the points of a win count to get us seeding in districts.”
While Lake Stevens and Arlington wouldn’t face each other in any playoff scenario this season, a win in the April 22 game would secure the victor three points in the standings.
The winning goal came in the 53rd minute as goalkeeper Keith Bayer was drawn to the left side of the net to defend a Viking attempt. The ball was deflected and driven in on the rebound moments later by Lake Stevens forward Vasily Bogdanoff.
The teams were closely matched in the standings with five and four wins each, and the game played out likewise.
Lake Stevens had more second-half opportunities on the goal thanks to halftime adjustments.
“Up until the goal, we were with them,” Gudgeon said. “But when they scored, we woke up and saw what we needed to do. But it was too late.’
The rest of the schedule promises to be at least as challenging for Arlington as the guys face Monroe, M-P and Cascade to close out the regular season, three teams with winning records and favorites for district playoff berths.
But with three games still ahead of them, the Eagles have already won more games than they did last season when they went four games deep into the double-elimination 3A district tournament.
However the Eagles do this season, Gudgeon said he sees this season as a step forward for the Arlington soccer program.
“I thought the kids really fought hard as a team,” he said. “As a soccer program, we haven’t had a lot of success. We’re still learning how to win these close games.”