TACOMA, WA — The Tacoma Stars jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Saturday night at the Tacoma Soccer Center and eventually posted a 10-5 victory to advance to the first-ever Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) title match next Saturday February 14th at 7:30 PM at the Tacoma Soccer Center.
In the other WISL semifinal Bellingham United held off the Wenatchee Fire 8-6. The Hammers will be Tacoma’s challenger for the championship.
The Stars and Artesians entertained a packed house. Both clubs had supporters making noise in a heightened playoff atmosphere. (Early photos)
“We are really excited to be hosting the WISL Final next Saturday,” says Stars General Manager John Crouch. “This match is a credit to our league, but also to the spirit showed by Oly Town and the hard work shown by the Stars players.” Crouch was key in launching the WISL just a few months ago. Now it all comes down to Saturday.
“Our fans have packed the Tacoma Soccer Center all year long so we are thrilled to be bringing the Final to Tacoma, for our fans to support us one more time this WISL season.”
Stars’ leading scorer Derek Johnson got Tacoma rolling with just over 6 minutes left in the first quarter. That stirred the Stars, who banged home three more before the period was over. Cam Vickers, a second from Johnson and Joey Gjertsen helped the home side pull ahead.
There was just one goal for Tacoma in the second quarter. It was the second from Joey Gjertsen. Tacoma was cruising 5-0 before the Artesians got one back. Tom Kemennu scored for Oly Town. It was 5-1 at the half.
The Artesians regrouped and mounted a stronger second half. It was 5-2 in the third when Mike Rancipher scored.
The Stars answered back to make it 6-2 on a goal from Adam West, who is leaving the Stars for outdoor pro play after this weekend. That was the score after three quarters.
Some futher breathing room was restored when Cam Vickers got his second goal of the night to make it 7-2 with 12 minutes to go. Oly Town hung tough and it was 7-3 when Aaron Burns scored for the Artesians during a power play.
The Artesians began to pressure the ball and push the match. The Stars found an opening as Oly attacked and Byron Conforti turned in a crucial goal to make it 8-3 with 4:55 left in the match. Gibson Bardsley only took half a minute to get Tacoma’s 9th.
Oly Town kept kicking to close the gap to 9-4 wehn Garret Lamanto scored. Tacoma’s tenth and final goal came from Kyle Danielson on a Stars power play.
Oly was out of time but not out of steam. Greg Wolfe scored the final goal of the night with 1:45 left to make it 10-5 Stars.
The Artesians unofficially outshot the Stars 27-24. Tacoma goalkeeper Aaron Anderson was credited with 26 saves. Oly Town’s Nate Salveson had 15.
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