TUKWILA, WA — (submission to goalWA.net) Years ago, there was one rivalry that loomed largest in the NWAC, Highline versus Bellevue. Bellevue had been the premier soccer team in the conference, winning numerous championship titles and reloading with talent year after year. Highline were the new boys on the block, but then coach Jason Prenovost was a tireless recruiter, consistently nabbing the top talent in the Seattle area in order to compete with their fiercest conference rival. The faces may have changed now, but the passion that exists when these two schools play against each other still exists today.
Last Saturday the Thunderbirds of Highline hosted Bellevue at the Starfire Athletic Complex. The kickoff time was scheduled for 5 pm, which called for a match under the lights, an appropriate setting for such an affair. Highline bested their counterparts with a final score 2-1 in a match that was anything but easy for the reigning NWAC Champions. Highline was able to get goals from Jandjamuje Maharero and the eventual game winner from Alvaro Osornio. While in the T-Bird net Grayson Raffensperger totaled 4 saves to secure the win.
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The strategy from the onset was very straightforward as Bellevue was content to drop deep in their own half with eleven players behind the ball in order the limit the space available for the ‘Birds creative players. The strategy almost got off to a cataclysmic start as Alvaro nearly gave Highline the lead within the first 5 minutes. However as the match wore on the Bulldogs were able to keep their discipline and were rewarded for their efforts in the 38th minute. During one of their rare forays forward a Bellevue player was judged to have been brought down in the box and the referee correctly pointed to the spot. Sophomore Anthony Dean stepped up and blasted home into the lower left corner just barely out of the reach of the fully extended Raffensberger. The score was 1-0 Bellevue and this is the way the teams would go into half time.
Highline came out with vigor at the beginning of the second half, while it was clear it was going to be more of the same defensive tactics from the Bulldogs. It is a strategy that can be seen with great effect in the Premier League by sides playing the larger clubs and can sometimes go on to frustrate the best of teams. Thus far into the match it seemed to be working with the Thunderbirds unable to find the back of the net. This would all change in the 61st minute when Jandja collected a neat pass from Alvaro on the top of the Bulldog box. He took one dribble toward goal and smashed the ball past Bellevue keeper David Simmons to give the T-Birds their equalizer.
After the goal the game really began to open up and there was a sense that this match would not end in a tie. The Bird’s would have to keep at it until Alvaro showed up to score the match winner in the 87th minute. Sophomore Isidro Prado- Huerta chased down a long through on the left flank and was barely able to keep the ball from going over the endline. He then steadied himself before flashing a brilliant ball across the face of the Bulldog goal. Alvaro was on hand to neatly slide the ball in the net past a fully stretched BCC keeper and make sure all three points went back with Highline. Alvaro currently seems to be the in-‐form man for the ‘Birds and can’t stop scoring.
It is a big week in the Western Division for Highline next week as they travel to Pierce on Wednesday before entertaining rivals Tacoma on Saturday.
Dean, Anthony (Bellevue) at 38 min
Maharero, Jandjamuje (Highline) at 61 min
Osornio, Alvaro (Highline) at 87 min
Osornio, Alvaro (Highline) at 61 min
Prado-Huerta, Isidro (Highline) at 87 min
Raffensperger, Grayson (Highline) Saves: 4
Simmons, David (Bellevue) Saves: 6
Raffensperger, Grayson (Highline) Goals Allowed: 1
Simmons, David (Bellevue) Goals Allowed: 2
Jules Mugisha (Highline)
Isidro Prado-Huerta (Highline)
Hossein Ellahi (Highline)
Alex Dolewski (Bellevue)
Brody Fitzsimmons (Bellevue)