Artesians Comeback Foiled, Fall To #1 Stars Reserves, 4-2

TACOMA, Wash. – In a preview of next week’s Western Indoor Soccer League semfinals, the Oly Town Artesians cut a 3-0 Tacoma Stars Reserves lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter to just a one goal game before a controversial non-call led to Tacoma’s fourth goal and stopped the Artesians’ momentum, and despite one of Oly Town goalkeeper JJ Olson’s best games, the Stars Reserves held on for a 4-2 win. The Artesians will be the #4 seed in the WISL playoffs and will make a return trip to the Tacoma Soccer Center to face the #1 seeded Stars Reserves next Saturday at 6:30 PM.

The Stars Reserves got on the board first when Nate Ford took a pass from himself off the wall and scored his 12th goal of the season to make it 1-0 late in the first quarter. Tacoma dominated possession for much of the first half but Olson kept them at bay with numerous saves before JJ Schmeck snuck a shot near post off of a quick restart to make it 2-0, and the Stars held that two goal lead heading into the half.

The Artesians nearly tied the game early in the third quarter when Angel Trejo-Delgado took a ball away from Mark Lee and got Tacoma goalkeeper Alek Greenleaf to bite on a pass off the wall to himself, leaving the goal wide open. But Stars Reserve defender Jeff Bader slid in at the last second to knock the shot away and deny Trejo-Delgado. Minutes later, Tacoma took a three goal lead after a quick restart caught the Artesians off guard and Micah Wenzel wheeled and found the back of the net to make it 3-0.

Oly Town broke the shutout three minutes into the fourth quarter when Collin LaBranche took a pass off the wall from Collin Tate and banged it past Greenleaf to make it 3-1. Four minutes later, Tate scored one of his own, making it a one goal game, 3-2, with 8:42 left to play. The Artesians kept the pressure on, threatening to tie the game multiple times over the next three minutes until Ford and Olson got tied up on a pass into the box by Adrian Correa and Bader took advantage of Olson being pulled down to stop the Artesians momentum and make it 4-2 with six minutes left to play. Oly kept the pressure on but weren’t able to break through and dropped the regular season finale, 4-2.

The win extended the Stars Reserves unbeaten streak to 22 games and they finished 9-0-1 this season. The Artesians dropped to 3-5-2, finishing fourth in the WISL, one point behind the #3 seed Snohomish Skyhawks. The Stars Reserves and Artesians will face each other again on the same field next Saturday in the WISL semfinals.

Tacoma Stars Reserves goals: Nate Ford, JJ Schmeck, Micah Wenzel, Jeff Bader
Oly Town Artesians goals: Collin LaBranche, Collin Tate