TUKWILA, WA — (submission to goalWA.net) The two top teams in the Western Division of the NWAC, Highline and Tacoma, tangled last Saturday afternoon in a battle of elites. Last time these two teams played at Tacoma, the Titans were able to edge the Thunderbirds by a score line of 3-2. This time around the Thunderbirds of Highline made sure the result would read very differently. The T-Birds, currently ranked as the 17th best Junior College team in the country according to the latest NSCAA poll showed their pedigree as they came away 2-0 winners. Both goals came via a brace from Sophomore Alex Castillo while Grayson Raffensberger and the Highline defense shut out the Titans.
|S. Puget Sound||0-7-0||0||0-8-1||6||34||0|
The T-Birds got started early, looking to gain an advantage in a match that would put them in the driver’s seat of the Western Division, however despite putting the Titans under heavy pressure in the opening minutes they were unable to find the break through. As Highline has already encountered several times this year, Tacoma was willing to defend deep in their own half and look to catch the ‘Birds on the counter-‐attack. The Thunderbirds had several quality chances in the first half, but were unable to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net. However defensively, the ‘Birds were absolutely watertight, limiting Tacoma to a few speculative counter attacking and set piece opportunities. The first half ended with the sides deadlocked at 0-0.
The second half began with Highline on the offensive, intently looking to find the breakthrough. They would get their reward in the 53rd minute. The ball found Freshman Christian Soto-‐Gonzales on the right flank and without a moment’s hesitation he whipped in a delightful cross that found the head of Alex Castillo. Castillo made no mistake as he powered an almighty header past a helpless Evan Munn to give the T-‐Birds a 1-‐0 advantage in the match. Alex was at it again in the 64th minute when he found himself on the top of the Tacoma box. Sophomore Alvaro Orornio saw his initial shot blocked and falling to the feet of Castillo who made no mistake as he slammed home his second goal into the lower right corner of the Titan net to give Highline the 2-0 lead.
From the second goal forward the Thunderbird defense showed their class as the limited the opportunities afforded to the Tacoma team. Sophomore goalkeeper Grayson was able to neatly organize his defense and remained largely untroubled for the duration of the second half and collects another shutout in the 2015 season.
Highline will look to build on this win and keep the momentum going as the take on South Puget Sound next weekend.
Grayson Raffensperger (Highline) recorded the shutout
Castillo, Alex (Highline) at 53 min
Castillo, Alex (Highline) at 64 min
Soto-Gonzalez, Christian (Highline) at 53 min
Osornio, Alvaro (Highline) at 64 min
Raffensperger, Grayson (Highline) Saves: 2
Munn, Evan (Tacoma) Saves: 3
Munn, Evan (Tacoma) Goals Allowed: 2
Connor Desmond (Tacoma)
Garrett Brewer (Highline)