SUMNER, Wash. – Austin Walker could have dwelled on the two shots he missed at point-blank range.
That is if the Cheney senior wasn’t busy thinking about the two goals he did score.
Walker scored both of his team’s goals and senior goalkeeper Andrew Wilson was his usual stellar self as the Blackhawks blanked Toppenish 2-0 in the State 2A boys soccer semifinals Friday at Sunset Chev Stadium.
“This is just phenomenal,” Walker said. “We’ve been here before, but I’m just speechless right now.”
Yes, the Blackhawks (18-3) have been in this position in the past.
In fact, Cheney, champions of the Great Northern League, will play for the state soccer championship for a third consecutive year at 4 p.m. today against Bellingham, a 3-0 winner over Sehome.
The Blackhawks are looking for their first state soccer crown as they had to settle for second place in each of the last two seasons – losing 2-1 in overtime to Sehome in the 2008 finals and 4-2 to Squalicum in last year’s title contest.
“We’re definitely a focused team right now,” said Wilson, who posted his 13th shutout this season and third in the state playoffs.
“It’s nice to be able to get another chance at (winning a state title).”
Toppenish (14-7) came out aggressively, looking to become the first team in the state tournament to find the back of the net on Cheney.
“(Toppenish) threw numbers at us early, that’s for sure,” Wilson said. “I’m not sure how we do it, but we just keep getting it done on defense. Our back four are all new this year. We have two sophomores running things back there. When it’s time to play defense they just step it up. We just jelled since the start of the season.”
Walker broke a scoreless tie with a minute left in the first half, firing a bullet from 12 yards out with his left foot that rocketed by a leaping Leo Fuentes.
“The first goal was just having great teammates around me,” said Walker about his ninth goal on the season. “They put the ball in a great spot and I was able to get a pretty good kick on it.”
Walker had two more solid scoring opportunities in the second half.
The first came in the 52nd minute when his shot just in front of the goal sailed over the crossbar.
A similar scenario happened in the 58th minute when Walker was unable to find the mark and again just missed.
Walker added his second goal in the 59th minute, a gorgeous play in which he shot the ball between Fuentes’ legs and into the goal to push the lead to 2-0.
Wilson and the defense did the rest from there turning away a late surge by the Wildcats in the final 20 minutes.