(submission to goalWA.net) The Highline CC Thunderbirds Men’s Soccer team continued to start the season off on the right foot, beating North Idaho 3-0 in what was a rematch of last year’s NWAC Championship game. The Cardinals, which are currently ranked 17th in the country according to the last NSCAA poll, were undone by goals from Tyler John and freshman Jandjamuje Maharero while sophomore goalkeeper Grayson Raffensberger secured the shutout for the ‘Birds.
The game started out fairly even with North Idaho gaining a fair amount of possession but no clear opportunities. Highline however was quick break the deadlock 16 minutes in with a true center forward’s goal. A long through ball by Jacob Jones was played in behind the Cardinal back line, Highline center forward Jandjamuje showed great strength to shrug off challenges from the two Idaho center backs and smash the ball beyond the onrushing Cardinal goalkeeper.
Sophomore Tyler John added to Highline’s advantage in the 38th minute courtesy of some beautiful individual skill. John slalomed his way down the right flank, past multiple North Idaho defenders before cutting to his left foot on the top of the Cardinal box. Tyler then unleashed a venomous strike, which rooted the Idaho keeper and nestled neatly in the bottom left corner of the net. John would go on to complete his brace, as he was on hand to neatly tuck in a rebound off the Idaho goalkeeper in the 74th minute.
Thunderbird keeper Grayson was largely untroubled in the match, although he did make a very smart save down to his left late on in the game to preserve the shutout. The T-‐Bird defense showed every bit of their class that led to last year’s championship run as they stifled the Idaho offense only forcing Grayson into 3 saves.
This result, against a very talented and well-‐disciplined Cardinal team, is the perfect way to end out of conference play before Highline starts with league play. Highline’s first league match will take place at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey @ 2:15 pm on September 12th versus South Puget Sound.