Sumner 4, Bellarmine 1

(Sumner, WA) The Sumner Spartans blew a huge chance to claim the 2024 SPSL 4A Soccer Championship when they fell short at Puyallup last week. But a huge effort Friday night kept their hopes alive when they took over sole possession of 3rd place by beating the team they were tied with, Bellarmine.

Let’s re-cap the match and then we’ll get into the convoluted SPSL standings “system” which sets up a huge final week with 2 matches to play for each team.

There were some heavy rain showers around Sunset Stadium in Sumner before and during the match but at the stadium only had some really light drizzles so the weather was not a factor. Both teams took their shots in the 1st half with the Lions getting the Lions share over the host Spartans squad but Sumner’s keeper Kyle Goodrow and defenders Eli Hamlin and Jacob Morgan shined denying Bellarmine. The Lions took 6 corners and 2 short straight on free kicks from finding the back of the net to blank Bellarmine in the 1st 40 minutes.

Despite the multiple attacks from the Lions, Sumner broke free in the 26th when leading scorer Ty Brunner launched a break-away from the top of the box to the right side of goal and in for the lone goal of the 1st half and the Spartans led 1-0.

In the 2nd half Sumner adjusted to the Lion attacks and limited the corner kicks to just 2 and flipped the field to expand their own offense. The adjustments paid off in the 60th when Hamlin took a great crossing pass from Brunner and re-directed it past Bellarmine keeper Ethan Faini who didn’t have a chance to knock it down. This gave Sumner a 2-0 lead.

Brunner added to it with his 2nd goal in the 67th which was basically a game of chicken with him and Faini. Brunner got deep into a 1-on-1 and Faini tried to beat him to the ball at the top of the box but Brunner got their just barely in time to tip it away and knocked it in to an empty goal.

Both teams would trade PK’s in the final 12 minutes with Jagger Jenkins scoring for Bellarmine. The Lions then clearly had to take chances and led to a final PK and goal by Brunner to get his hat trick for the final 4-1 score.

Sumner had others who played exceptionally well including Gannon Vanderhoof, Reese Bywater, Arya Alijani and Sam Neely who got the assist on the 3rd goal.

Bellarmine had one of those games where they could have had 3 or 4 goals themselves but just couldn’t finish any of the several deep threats they possessed. Jenkins along with Dane Price, Henry Marlow, Brandon Wing and Rory O’Reilly were among those who had solid efforts.

Our NW Hometeam Takin it to the House Play of the Game came in the 30th minute when Sumner keeper Kyle Goodrow punched out a laser shot free kick to keep the match from getting tied in the 1st half and protected the Sumner lead. Our Thorbeckes MVP we simply couldn’t decide and awarded the rare double MVP to Ty Brunner with the hat-trick and assist on the 4th goal and to Eli Hamlin who scored the ultimate winning goal and had a couple of huge defensive plays himself to keep Bellarmine off the board.

Bellarmine drops to 6-3-2 in league play and is all alone in 4th place with 30 points. The Lions will host South Kitsap on Monday with hopes of getting back into the win column and they finish with a game at Puyallup on Wednesday.

Sumner is now in 3rd place at 8-4-0 in league and with 33 points, just a point behind Curtis and 4 points behind Puyallup. The Spartans finish with their final crossover league game hosting Emerald Ridge on Monday and then at Curtis on Wednesday.

Crazy Final Week of SPSL League Play

This sets up a chaotic final 2 games of the season in the SPSL 4A with Puyallup in 1st place with 37 points, Curtis is 2nd with 34 points, Sumner 3rd with 33, Bellarmine 4th with 30 and Olympia looks to have 5th wrapped up with 21 points although Emerald Ridge, Bethel and Graham-Kapowsin have an outside chance of catching the Bears with 15 points. Especially Emerald Ridge who still has a crossover match with Sumner.

All the teams have a maximum of 6 points they can earn in their final 2 games and Puyallup the only team with their final destiny in their hands. If the Vikings win out no one can catch them and they will finish with 43 points. If they lose at Curtis on Monday the most they can finish with is 40 points if they win their final match at home against Bellarmine.

Curtis can finish in a tie with Puyallup with a win on Monday over their fellow Vikings and then a home win against Sumner on Wednesday. At the time of this writing we are unsure of the tie-breakers for any ties after the final 2 games.

However, there is another wrinkle to all of this and that is the “crossover” match on Monday between Sumner and Emerald Ridge and that is because in the SPSL 4A their point system is funky to say the least with the crossovers. Both Sumner and the Jaguars can earn more than 3 points, in fact they can earn up to 6 points.

The SPSL 4A rules, which really need to be re-thought in my opinion, rewards teams to pile on which is really a strange dynamic especially in high school sports. Since the teams in the league’s opposite divisions only face each other 1 time during the season, the point structure is up to 6 points for a win but you have to win by 3 or more goals. Which of course means if you are up 2-0 with 2-minutes to play in the game you are forced to keep trying to add on another goal even though you have defeated your opponent, even if your opponent has waived the white flag and sent in the reserves you may need that extra point and go for the 3+ goal win.

If you win by 2 goals you get 5 points, a regular 1 goal win gets you 4. If you tie, in division it ends with each team getting a point. In the crossover it goes to a shoot-out and the winner gets 2 points and the loser gets 1. So again, both the Spartans and Jags have a shot at picking up 6 points on Monday which could turn things into a real mess at the top of the standings.

Sumner can still finish the season with a total of 42 points which means they will need some help in the form of a tie or loss by Puyallup. The Vikings do have a tough final 2 games so it is by far not out of the question with Curtis and Bellarmine still to play. A stumble will open the door for the Spartans. If Sumner wins by 2 or more goals and Puyallup loses 1 of their final matches the Spartans could leap frog both Puyallup and Curtis for the league Championship. There’s even a scenario for a 3-way tie for 1st between Puyallup, Curtis and Sumner.

Bellarmine with the loss Friday night cannot win the league they can only finish with as many as 36 points and Puyallup already has 37. But the Lions could create chaos and climb up as high as 2nd place by winning out.

Regardless of all the potential finishes, which will drive you insane trying to figure out all the “what-ifs”. There is only 1 for sure, if Puyallup wins both their final 2 matches they will be SPSL Champs and focused on getting back to the 4A Championship match. All we know this is going to be fun!

ESN Postgame Show


Ty Brunner gets Sumner on the Board


Goodrow with our Play of the Game


Hamlin with the ultimate game winner


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By paulb

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