Storm fell in last year's final, 2-1 to Jesuit team they beat this year
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Summit Storm have their eyes set on their first boys soccer state title since 2013. On Saturday, they can turn that dream into a reality.
It’s their second straight appearance in the big game, but this year, the Storm are hoping for a different result.
In 2018, Summit, a 2-seed, lost to Jesuit High School, a 12-seed, by a score of 2-1 in the championship match.
Senior goalie Khael Engelman told NewsChannel 21 three words have been circulating around the team since that game: “Run it back.” Engelman says it’s “championship or bust” for the 2019 season.
In these playoffs, Summit has been playing with a chip on its shoulder, coming in as an eight seed. Still, they managed to avenge last year’s championship loss to take down top-seeded Jesuit in the quarterfinals, and have not looked back since.
“I think that shows that we can beat any team in this state,” Engelman said. “We really, really want it. I think once we get back to Hillsboro and set foot in that stadium again, we're going to realize even more how much we want it."
Coach Ron Kidder said this year’s team is coming in with a different attitude than that of his previous teams. He calls it a “quiet confidence.”
If the championship game is a close one, Kidder said he feels like his team has the advantage. This season, the Storm have five wins and two losses in games decided by two goals or fewer. That includes the semifinal game Tuesday night, in which they beat Forest Grove on penalty kicks.
That’s a big step in the right direction for a team that's struggled in similar situations in the past. In fact, the last three Summit playoff runs have ended by losing on penalty kicks, including last year’s championship game.
Kidder also said the fact that the team has traveled so much this season is a huge plus. The majority of their games in 2019 have been played on the road, most of them several miles away. The Storm are 6-2-2 in those games.
Kidder said Summit has put nearly 3,000 miles on the team bus this year. That's about the same distance from Summit’s home stadium in Bend to the North Pole. Saturday’s championship game is at Hillsboro Stadium in Hillsboro, the Storm’s second-farthest venue this season, behind only their semifinal games against Forest Grove.
A win in that game would be huge for the program, and for the 12 seniors on the team who may be playing in their final soccer game ever. It would be extra-special for one senior in particular -- Simon Kidder. He’s a captain on the team and the coach’s son, and has been dreaming of hoisting that trophy with his father.
"That would be super-special,” Simon said. “I mean, we're so close, and the last four years have brought us even closer. So bringing that trophy home together would just be amazing."
Saturday’s championship game will kick off in Hillsboro at 3:30 p.m. against Portland's Franklin High School.