By Sam Paul-Barrette, Journal intern
On the first day of practice, a hot and humid day in late August, the Wolverine boys soccer squad set a clear goal: win the state tournament.
On a dry, frigid November afternoon, they took another massive step towards that goal with a 3-0 victory over the Northwest Christian Crusaders of Spokane, Saturday at Mount Vernon High School.
Arno Issanjou tallied his third hat-trick (three goals in a game) of the season and the Wolverines showed one of their strongest defensive performances, limiting the Crusaders (11-8) to only a handful of shots and leaving goalkeeper Dalton Ayers with little to do.
Friday Harbor (14-6) started hot, with a well-worked passing sequence ending up with Joe Stewart feeding Issanjou, who beat his defender before placing a shot in the lower corner of the goal in only the third minute of the game. The rest of the first half was a more even affair with both defenses stifling attacks on either end.
The Wolverines made sure to come out of the halftime break with plenty of intensity.
Issanjou put away his second goal of the game in the 64th minute, taking a pass from Sam Stewart and hitting a long-range rocket of a shot from 30 yards out that found the top corner of the goal. Less than five minutes later, Max Haenel sent a pass from the left side of the field to Issanjou, who turned and hit a low shot that snuck under the Crusader goalkeeper for his third goal of the afternoon and his 22nd of the season, putting Friday Harbor in complete control.
With the win, the Wolverines advance to the State Semifinals for the first time since 2004. They will travel to Sunset Chevrolet Stadium on the campus of Sumner High School for an 8 p.m. showdown against Waitsburg-Prescott, Friday, Nov. 21.
A win would send them to the program’s first ever title game Saturday, Nov. 22 at the same venue. A loss and they will play for third place in a consolation game.