TACOMA, WA – The Oly Town Artesians opened Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) with a loss against Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) Tacoma Stars reserve team on the road Saturday, 5-2. The score line however not indicative of the neck and neck battle that occurred at the Tacoma Soccer Center with Oly only trailing 1-0 going into halftime.
Skipper Nick Boatright had a mix of high school and post college athletes as well as Oly Town veterans Collin Tate, JJ Olson and Nate Boatright. There were eight brand new players to arena soccer playing for the Artesians.
The Tacoma Stars suited up pro arena soccer players against Oly Town which included Fellipe Souza (21 Matches, 11 Goals in the MASL in 2022-23) and Eddie Na (17 Games, 7 Goals in 2022-23 MASL). Eddie Na returned home recently from competing in World Cup Qualifiers for Guam.
The Stars drew first blood but were mostly stifled by 11 saves from Isaiah Damschen who is a second year goalkeeper in the WISL for Oly Town. Oly Town could not find the back of the net in the first half despite a few good attempts while the Artesian defense was peppered.
Oly Legend and WISL veteran goalkeeper JJ Olson would enter the game in the second half with Damschen dealing with an undisclosed illness. JJ Olson holds the career goalkeeping appearance record for Oly Town with 34 matches dating back to 2017.
Asked about his (JJ Olson) return to pro-am soccer after a two-year break from playing, “I was unable to play due to family reasons with 3 kids and my wife graduating from nursing school. I had to be there for my family first”
Olson was asked how it felt to get back on the pitch against the Tacoma Stars.
“It felt really good to get back on the field” said Olson. “Felt good to be back out there with some of the old guys too.” Collin Tate and Nate Boatright who both suited for last nights match have played with JJ Olson since 2018.
Oly Town with Olson in goal would get on the board in the 3rd period with a scramble in the Tacoma Stars box and Safwan Ismael sneaking the ball under the Stars goalkeepers diving arms.
Foul trouble however was a cause for concern as Oly Town gave the Tacoma Stars multiple power plays which added two more goals in the second half. Blue cards and 12 team fouls were committed by the Artesians while the Stars yielded 8 fouls.
“Our intention going into the game with the Stars reserves was to keep it tight” said Head Coach Nick Boatright. “I also thought our two goalkeepers were outstanding and made a bunch of saves.”
Captain Nate Boatright would give the Artesians a spark in the 4th period with a late goal to get Artesians within two scores but the Stars would sneak in a final goal with a minute left and the game ended 2-5.
“I thought Nigel (El-Sokkary) was one of our most dangerous attacking pieces” said Nick Boatright. “He was consistently able to win one v one situations.”
The Artesians head home next Saturday, November 4 to play Olympic Peninsula’s The Force who beat the Vancouver Lightning 8-5 in Bremerton. Tickets are available on the olytownfc.com website. Food and drinks will be on-hand as well as the first home match of the WISL season.
“I am most excited for our fans and to celebrate this great community” said Boatright. “The team is always going to play hard and do their best, but we get an extra boost playing in front of them.”
Tickets are $8 general admission, Student ID’s are $5 and kid’s 12 & under are free. Season ticket deposits are still available for $50 covering both women’s and men’s arena home games for the Artesians.
Follow Oly Town’s updates throughout the week by following them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok @olytownfc.com.
Season tickets and online apparel available by clicking here.
10.28.23 Match Photos by Artesian Staff
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