Down to the wire

The Renton High soccer team is in the playoffs. Let that sink in for a minute. The best evidence for how big of a deal the playoff appearance is: No one at the school is sure exactly how long it has been since the Indians boys soccer team last made the postseason.

Hazen’s Raymundo Pelayo winces after missing a shot on goal in the first half of Hazen’s 1-1 tie with Mount Rainier Friday at Highline Stadium.

Hazen’s Raymundo Pelayo winces after missing a shot on goal in the first half of Hazen’s 1-1 tie with Mount Rainier Friday at Highline Stadium.

The Renton High soccer team is in the playoffs. Let that sink in for a minute. The best evidence for how big of a deal the playoff appearance is: No one at the school is sure exactly how long it has been since the Indians boys soccer team last made the postseason.

“It’s been several years,” said Renton co-coach Duane Nakamura. “It’s probably been at least a decade. That’s what makes it mean so much.”

It wasn’t long ago that Nakamura called the team schizophrenic and said he wasn’t seeing as much progress as he hoped for this season.

Then the Indians (5-9 overall, 5-9 Seamount League) got help from an unexpected source: city rival Hazen. The Highlanders had to forfeit many of their games because of an ineligible player, giving Renton two additional wins and thrusting the Indians into the playoff chase.

Renton, Lindbergh and Hazen were locked-up in the race for the final playoff spot with two games left in the regular season.

The key game down the stretch for Renton was a 3-1 win over Lindbergh on April 29.

“We knew going into that game if we could get a win it would put us in control of our own destiny,” Nakamura said. “The focus was there, the intensity was there, it was the best game we’ve had all season.”

The Indians then fell 0-6 to Kennedy in their last regular season game, leaving their playoff hopes resting on the results of Hazen’s May 2 game against Mount Rainier.

“Anything but a Hazen win would put us through,” Nakamura said.

Hazen made it close, tying the first place Rams 1-1. Nakamura said several Renton players attended and updated him throughout the game.

“The boys are extremely excited at this opportunity,” Nakamura said. “It’s an unconventional way of getting there. We are very lucky to have benefited from the two extra wins by forfeit from Hazen. But, we’ll take it. It’s been so long since we’ve been to the playoffs.”

Renton met White River (6-7-3, 5-6-3) Tuesday night an SPSL/Seamount playoff game.

Adam McFadden can be reached at amcfadden@reporternewspapers.com or 425-255-3484, ext. 5054.


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