Eagle River, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons boys soccer team put up nine goals on the Monroe Catholic Rams during the opening day of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Soccer State Championships at Eagle River on Thursday.
The Falcons showed a solid side on the pitch but also lost senior Elias West and junior Phillip Lam to injury.
“They played solid fundamentals,” Thunder Mountain coach Tim Lewis said of his side. “It is going to be tough but I think we have enough depth that, even though we will definitely miss them because they have been vital parts of this team. We are still going to come to play tomorrow.”
Thunder Mountain junior Talon Briggs said the team felt fine.
“We got a couple injuries at the end that could be a problem but we are just going to keep pushing forward and focus on our next game.”
Thunder Mountain played more than fine.
After senior Logan Miller missed the first shot of the game within the first 30 seconds of action the ball started to fall the Falcons way.
Briggs put a shot in from 20 yards out on an assist from Miller for a 1-0 lead with 36 minutes remaining in the first half.
“It is really nice having him in our midfield and out wide,” Briggs said. “He plays really good through balls and he plays them fast so you can get past the defender.”
Miller took an assist from Briggs and scored from five yards out at the 35 minute mark.
After two near misses by junior Wallace Adams, his younger brother, freshman Owen, took an assist from Miller and put in goal number three at the 21 minute mark.
“It is just the first step,” Miller said. “We can move on from today and focus on tomorrow against Kenai and hopefully come out with the result. Keep to our game plan and not get into our heads over the big win today but just stay focused and stay humble.”
A couple more Falcons shots went wide and high before junior John Magalhaes took an assist from the younger Wallace brother and hit from 15 yards out at the 14 minute mark.
Sophomore Payton Grant put an unassisted shot on goal at the 10 minute mark and followed in for the rebound score and a 5-0 lead.
Older Wallace brother followed his own shot in the box for a 6-0 advantage with 5 minutes left in the half.
Thunder Mountain lapsed and Monroe got goals by senior Jase Mccullough and junior Evan Puryear, both inside the stoppage time of the first half.
Briggs scored his second goal of the day in the opening minute of the second half and added a third goal just under the 30 minute mark from 20 yards out for an 8-2 lead.
Magalhaes notched his second goal on an assist fromW. Adams for the 9-2 final.
The Falcons two injuries came in the waning minutes of the match. West and Lam both had to be carried off the field roughly two minutes apart. Both were coherent but West was transported by ambulance from the pitch with his left leg in an air cast.
“This happened two years ago,” senior Gavin Gende said. “It is really hard because it feels like it happened again. We just have to keep our heads up and know that we are still in it even though we have a couple players who may not be playing.”
The Falcons advance to a semifinal against Kenai at 11 a.m., Friday, on the West High School pitch.
Kenai defeated Grace Christian in overtime 2-0.