King’s claims district crown | Boys soccer

By David Pan | May 11, 2017
Photo by: David Pan King’s Blake Dornay brings the ball up the field against Mount Baker during a district playoff game Wednesday, May 3, at Woolsey Stadium in Shoreline.

The King’s boys soccer team could have not asked for a better start to the postseason.

The Knights, a young squad that returned only four seniors, opened district play with a 5-1 victory over Mount Baker on Wednesday, May 3, and then defeated Sultan 4-0 in the district championship game on Saturday, May 6.

King’s (12-4-2) advanced to the Bi-District title game and is set to face Bush at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 13 at Sultan High School. Win or lose, the Knights move on to the state tournament.

“I’m really encouraged by how well we played,” King’s coach Sam Hartman said. “Going into the Bi-District championship and the state tournament, we seem like we’re peaking at the right time.”

Roma Billing scored three goals to lead King’s past the Mountaineers. Atley Shapiro and Jase Fransen also scored goals.

Billing took advantage of his speed.

“They were a really physical team that played really hard, but I don’t think anyone on their team could match his skill level and his speed,” Hartman said of Billing. “He’s becoming a player we almost expect for him to score in each game. We’re leaning on him heavily.”

Billing was one of four Knights to score against the Turks. Shapiro, Fransen, and Jonathan Chen also had goals.

Though he didn’t score any goals in the two district playoff games, senior Jack Van Dyke is having an impact on offense. For a time, King’s put Van Dyke back on defense due to injuries to some of the team’s key defensive players.

But because of some improved play and with players getting healthy, the decision was made to move Van Dyke up front, where he normally plays.

“His speed and his physical play and his experience force our opponents to pay attention to him,” Hartman said. “He’s definitely opening space for other people.”

Hartman admits he’s surprised by how well the Knights have progressed this season.

“I didn’t know what we had with this team,” he said. “We didn’t have the experience.”

After a performance in which King’s held Archbishop Murphy, the two-time defending state champion, scoreless for the first 60 minutes before eventually losing 3-0 in the final regular season game, Hartman realized just how good his team was.

“I believe we can play with anybody,” he said.

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