Coming off a thrilling stoppage time goal for a late win in Tuesday’s first round, Hazen bowed out of the playoffs Thursday night with a 4-3 loss to Foss High School.
“There’s an old soccer adage that the best team doesn’t always win,” said Hazen Coach Ken Matthews in a press release. “That argument could be made with this game.”
Hazen got two goals from Isaiah Blount and one from Luis Puga. The assists came from Ryan Wong, Reyes Garcia and Logan Dickman. The Highlanders outshot Foss 16 to 6 on the game.
Putting balls into the net this year has been one of Hazen’s challenges.
“It sure seemed like we were in their end of the field the entire first half. In the first 25 minutes they had three runs into our half – total – and got two goals,” Matthews said. “It wasn’t that we were playing poorly in the back, they just got two pretty impressive goals.”
Reflecting on the year, Matthews said he was satisfied with the results. Many thought Hazen would struggle through a down year after losing seven starters off of last year’s league championship and state quarterfinal team. Matthews categorically denies that.
“No way, that’s just an excuse. We push our JV team hard every year to find the players we can reload varsity with. This year seven players from last year’s JV stepped into key roles for us. Every player in our program is coached every day by the entire coaching staff. We know who is in the system and ready to step up. In fact, we were planning for next year’s tryouts on the bus ride home tonight,” Matthews said.
The Highlanders finished the season 10-3-5 overall and 8-1-5 in the Seamount League.