OLYMPIA, Wash. – After a roller coaster regular season, the Oly Town Artesians make a return trip to Bremerton on Saturday night to take on the Olympic Force in the Western Indoor Soccer League semifinals. The Artesians (4-5-1, 13 points) knocked off the Force (6-4-0, 18 points), 8-7, last Saturday night to sweep the season series and jump two spots to take third place in the WISL and earn a spot in the playoffs. First kick at the Olympic Sports Center on Saturday night is scheduled for 7:00 PM.
The Artesians opened the regular season with a resounding 10-6 win over Olympic and continued their stellar start and finished the first half of the season at 3-1-1. But injuries and a tough stretch of schedule caught up with them and Oly Town went on a four game losing streak, including a 9-7 loss to Snohomish in the last home game of the year.
Facing second place Olympic in Bremerton in the regular season finale, the Artesians played their best game of the season behind two goals by Crisantos Chavez, a goal and three assists by Willie Spurr and stellar defensive play by Matt Herrera, Brett Stallworth and goalkeeper JJ Olson to break their losing streak, break the team record for wins in a season, and qualify for the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.
Spurr led the Artesians with 14 goals and 11 assists and the Artesians were 4-3-1 in the eight games that he played and 0-2-0 with a -10 goal differential in games that he missed. Injuries cost Oly a good portion of their opening day starting lineup. Five of their top 10 scorers were unable to play in the season finale and those five players accounted for 18 goals, including seven from forward Matt Stalnik. One position that stayed healthy was goalkeeper. JJ Olson started all ten games in the regular season and played all but 46 minutes.
A third meeting with a dangerous Force squad looms. The Force were 4-0 at the Olympic Soccer Center with 45 of their 76 goals notched at home before their loss to the Artesians. Gustavo Bermudez and Luis Enrique Hidalgo lead the Force with 13 and 12 goals apiece respectively and are seeking a second straight appearance in the WISL Championship game. They fell to Bellingham in Bellingham last year, their first season as a member of the WISL.