Stars, Hammers and Fire post Saturday victories

The Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) reached the halfway point of its first season after matches were completed on December 20th. Now each club has played four of eight league matches. The new year will see the second half and then the playoffs in which the top four clubs will battle for the first WISL Championship.

In Bellingham the Hammers took a 7-5 win over the Oly Town Artesians. In Tacoma the Stars beat the Arlington Aviators 9-1. In Wenatchee the Fire topped Alianza Tri-Cities 8-7 in an exciting friendly. Adrian Espinoza scored four for the winning Fire.

Club Points Wins Losses Ties GF GA Goal + / –
TACOMA STARS  12  4  0  0  33 15 +18
BELLINGHAM UNITED  7  2  1  1  24 19 +5
OLY TOWN ARTESIANS  6  2  2  0  27 29 -2
WENATCHEE FIRE  4  1  2  1  24 30 -6
ARLINGTON AVIATORS  0  0  4  0  12 28 -15

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WISL Logo - 600BELLINGHAM, WA – (Artesians release) Brendan Quilici scored twice and Tye Hastings took advantage of a double power play to score what proved to be the game winner in Bellingham United’s 7-5 win over the Oly Town Artesians at the Bellingham Sportsplex on Saturday night. 14 fouls and five blue cards called against the Artesians proved to be the difference as three of Bellingham’s four goals in the second half came with Oly a man down.

With the Oly Town roster depleted by injuries and the holidays, a newcomer started the night off for the Artesians. Tanner Williams made his debut and quickly put Oly up 1-0 on his first shift of the season three minutes into the first quarter. But Bellingham United answered back three minutes later on a rocket by Brendan Quilici that Artesians keeper Clint Lothrop had no chance at stopping. Williams again put himself on the score sheet with an assist on a goal by Justin La Torre that gave Oly a 2-1 lead through the first 15 minutes of play.

The Hammers took a 3-2 lead with a pair of goals midway through the second quarter. The first goal was credited to Kenny Parker after the ball took a deflection and slowly rolled into the corner of the goal and Gabriele Zaccagnini put Bellingham up with a goal at the 4:55 mark. Two more newcomers brought Oly level when Nate Boatright’s pass across the box was easily volleyed past Bellingham keeper Keegan Rogers by George Bundy and the half ended in a tie, 3-3.

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Oly Town brought along the jersey of injured feature player Matt Stalnik. (Oly Town Facebook)

 

olylogofullThings looked bleak for the Artesians in the third quarter after Chris Jepson and Quilici scored a pair of goals early to start the second half. Quilici’s goal came on the restart after the Artesians were issued a blue card and put the Hammers up 5-3 with 11:19 left in the period. Nate Salveson chipped into the two goal lead with a shot off of a free kick that just got a piece of the post and ricocheted into the goal. Then with one second left, Willie Spurr scored his fifth goal of the season to pull Oly even as the horn sounded to signal the close of the third.

hammersBut the fouls mounted in the second half and a tired Artesians team couldn’t keep up shorthanded. Following a blue card for the Artesians 12th foul and another blue card on a sliding foul, Bellingham played 5-on-3 soccer for over a minute. As the first penalty came to a close and Willie Spurr sprinted onto the field, Tye Hastings launched a shot from long distance that just inched under the crossbar to put Bellingham up 6-5 with 6:33 left to play. Kellan Brown added another goal two minutes later and the Hammers held on to a 7-5 victory and moved into second place in the Western Indoor Soccer League.

Both teams played without one of their top goal scorers. Matt Stalnik (four goals) is out for the season with a torn ACL after his injury in the Artesians’ win at Arlington last week and Andrew Weishaar (five goals) did not play for Bellingham United.

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Warming up at the Bellingham Sportsplex. (Oly Town Facebook)

 

The Hammers moved to 2-1-1 halfway through the WISL’s inaugural season. They sit in second place with seven points, one point ahead of the Artesians and five points behind the Tacoma Stars, who romped past Arlington in Tacoma tonight.

The Artesians fell to 2-2-0 with six points in their first season and sit in third place in the league ahead of the idle Wenatchee Fire (4 points). The Arlington Aviators are mired in last place at 0-4-0 after their loss to the Stars tonight. Four of the five WISL teams make the playoffs.

The holiday season is upon us and the Oly Town Artesians and the WISL will take a two week break. The Artesians will get a rematch with Bellingham United at Olympia Indoor Soccer on Saturday, January 3rd. First kick is scheduled for 6:00 PM, doors open at 5:00 PM. Advance tickets are available at http://www.olytownfc.com or by calling (360) 561-7252

Tacoma went ahead 1-0 when Derek Johnson scored the first of his four goals against Erik Cruz. (Wilson Tsoi)

Tacoma went ahead 1-0 when Derek Johnson scored the first of his four goals against Erik Cruz. (Wilson Tsoi)



cropped-stars_logo.pngTACOMA, WA—The Tacoma Stars scored a 9-1 victory over the Arlington Aviators on Saturday night December 20 before 386 fans at the Tacoma Soccer Center in Western Indoor Soccer League action. It was another big night for forward Derek (‘El Tigre’) Johnson, who scored four goals to follow up his Player of the Week five spot last time out in Wenatchee.

The Aviators knew the challenge before them, and they kept the match within reason through halftime. It was 4-0 Stars at the break with Arlington goalkeeper Erik Cruz making some super saves to keep his club alive. Winfred Smith broke down the left side early in the third quarter and slotted home a stellar goal. Suddenly it was 4-1 and the Stars were asked to raise their game. “Up the tempo!” Yelled Tacoma head coach Darren Sawatzky from the Stars box. Tacoma came through with their coach’s wishes by reeling off the final five goals of the night.

arlington-aviators-2014-WISL-cropped-800

Earlier, the Stars began slowly. The first quarter action was not pleasing to Sawatzky, who verbally challenged his players to set their own standard against an Arlington side with fewer numbers and a desire to stay back and pack the box. Derek Johnson put the Stars up 1-0 with a blast from the left side. A few minutes later Vincent McCluskey touched one home from directly in front of the Aviators goal. It was 2-0 after one period.

In the second quarter Raphael Cox found a loose ball bouncing back to him just to the left of the penalty arc. He buried the chance to make it 3-0. Derek Johnson kept on scoring a bit later when he found a similar loose ball, this time to the right of the Arlington goal, and he smashed it past Cruz to make it 4-0.

Derek Johnson now has 9 goals in his last 2 matches for the Stars. (Wilson Tsoi)

Derek Johnson now has 9 goals in his last 2 matches for the Stars. (Wilson Tsoi)

The Stars pulled starting goalkeeper Aaron Anderson at halftime, inserting Dominic Cusato for the rest of the contest. It was Cusato’s first extended time in WISL play. Though ten goals were scored on the night, the goalkeeping was stellar on both sides. Cruz kept the Stars below double digits with nearly 30 saves, and Cusato kept the Aviators at one despite several second half chances.

“Erik’s performance was amazing tonight, some of the saves he made were unbelievable. He definitely kept it close for us, and I wish we could have given him some more support offensively,” said James Doherty in the Aviators report. Doherty was filling in as Head Coach for Dagi Kesim.

Erik Cruz kept the Aviators in the match with 28 saves. (Wilson Tsoi)

Erik Cruz kept the Aviators in the match with 28 saves. (Wilson Tsoi)

WISL Logo - 600After the vistors had made it 4-1 in the third quarter Derek Johnson made sure the Stars would win the match as he scored two more times. Derek’s third goal was a measure in effort and determination. Again he intercepted a loose Arlington pass at the top of the penalty box. This time he worked right and the ball bounced up, catching between his lower legs. Johnson hopped, brought the ball along, then made a deft touch to himself before firing back across the goal and into the net. Derek’s fourth goal wasn’t as climactic. It came on a dribbler tapped in from the left post near the wall. Jamael Cox brough fresh air and fast legs to the Stars when he joined the fray. He followed Johnson’s antics with a blast that sailed long-range into the visitors goal. It was 7-1 Stars after three quarters.

Chris Raymond was lurking in front of Cruz in the fourth quarter, so when Adam West unleashed a long shot Raymond was able to redirect it into the net for an 8-1 Stars advantage. McCluskey (his second of the night)  scored the final goal in the 9-1 win.

The Stars are now 4-0-0 (12 points) in WISL play, keeping their first place status. Overall the Stars remain undefeated at 6-0-0. Tacoma takes a break for the holidays before hosting Yakima United in a friendly on Saturday night January 3rd at 7:30 PM at the Tacoma Soccr Center. Tickets for all Stars home matches are available online at TacomaStars.com.

Jamael Cox and Windred Smith race down the pitch. (WIlson Tsoi)

Jamael Cox and Windred Smith race down the pitch. (WIlson Tsoi)

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