TACOMA, Wash. – Micah Wenzel scored the game winner with 1:15 left and the Tacoma Stars Reserves flipped the script on the Oly Town Artesians, notching a nail biting 4-3 win on Saturday night at the Tacoma Soccer Center.
Goalkeeper JJ Olson played his best game as an Artesian making 23 saves in the loss, including a brutal peppering in the third quarter that kept the game even at 3-3 after three quarters of play. The two teams battled throughout the fourth quarter with Tacoma pressing and getting the most opportunities and easily killing a power play midway through the quarter. The pressure finally got to the Artesians defense when Wenzel buried a shot from the left side for the win. Three weeks earlier, it was the Oly scoring twice in the final 60 seconds to pull out a last minute win over Tacoma.
Willie Spurr struck first for the Artesians, scoring his 13th goal of the season in the last minute of the first quarter after Tacoma was shown a blue card. Sam Zisette responded early in the second quarter to tie the game 1-1 before Luke Chouinard turned off of the boards on a breakaway and popped a shot over the head of Stars Reserves goalkeeper Aaron Anderson. The half came to an end with Oly up 2-1.
Tacoma struck first in the third quarter when Jeff Bader got the equalizer just 30 seconds into the quarter. The Artesians took back the lead once again when Jake Sanford poked in a pass from Chouinard, but it would be the last offense Oly could muster. The Artesians killed one power play but confusion on the bench when the penalty expired led to another blue card immediately after and Eddie Na tied the game up at 3-3 with 4:36 left in the third. The two teams played 18+ scoreless minutes from there before the game winner.
With the win, the Stars Reserves (3-4-1, 10 points) jumped from last place in the WISL to third, while the Artesians dropped into fourth place (3-4-1, 10 points) based on goal differential. The top four teams in the WISL make the playoffs and Sporting Everett and the Snohomish Skyhawks sit in fifth and sixth place, just two points behind Oly Town.
The Skyhawks come to town on Saturday, February 4th at 6:00 PM. A win over Snohomish would clinch a spot in the playoffs for the Artesians. The regular season home finale kicks off at 6:00 PM, doors open at 5:15. Tickets can be purchased in advance for just $5 by visiting the Artesians’ website at http://www.olytownfc.com.