OLYMPIA, Wash. – The second half of the 2019-2020 Western Indoor Soccer League season kicks off on Saturday night when the Oly Town Artesians welcome the Oly-Pen Force to town. It is a rematch of the opening game of the season that the Artesians took, 9-6. Kick off at The Pavilion at The Evergreen State College is set for 6:35 PM and tickets are just $8 for adults, $5 for kids 5-12, seniors, military, and first responders.

The Artesians enter the second half in fourth place in the WISL with a 2-3-0 record and are coming off a narrow 6-5 loss to the first place and defending champion Tacoma Stars Reserves on December 22nd. The Artesians play three of their final five games at home and will only travel as far as the Tacoma Soccer Center for their two road games, facing both Tacoma teams – Narrows and the Stars Reserves – on the road.

Alec Zimmerman leads the way for the Artesians in his first indoor season with six goals and four assists in just three games. He missed the final two games of the first half with an ankle injury and is questionable for Saturday’s game. Veteran Nate Boatright has added five assists and scored twice. Oly has really spread the scoring around this season with 20 different goal scorers and the improved offense is just 10 goals behind the entire total of goals scored last season.

The Oly-Pen Force are 1-4-0 this season, but after a tough start, they come in just a game behind the Artesians with a very different roster than the one that lost to Oly Town in Bremerton on November 16th. Former WISL Golden Boot winner Alex Hernandez leads the Force with seven goals and goalkeeper Cole Weaver was named Defensive Player Of The Week for week three when he held Snohomish to six goals in his season debut, giving the Force their only win of the season.

The road has not treated the Force well this season: they set a record for worst loss in league history falling 26-3 to Bellingham in week two, and they were shutout, 9-0, by the Stars Reserves in week four.

The Well 80 Brewhouse Beer Garden, including the party porch – which has been a very popular addition to The Pavilion this season, will be open and serving beverages for fans 21 and over. There will be delicious concessions, giveaways, games, and more all night long. Doors open at 5:45.

For fans unable to make it to The Pavilion on Saturday, the game will be webcast on the Artesians Network. Like Oly Town FC on Facebook at FB.com/OlyTownFC to access the link to the webcast.

The Oly Town Artesians played arguably their best game of the season but fell just short in their upset bid of the defending WISL champion Tacoma Stars Reserves. It was a hard fought game and Sonja Purtteman was there and captured the fight with the photo gallery below.

Love this action? Come on out on Saturday, January 11th when the Artesians open the second half of play against the Oly-Pen Force. First kick is set for 6:35 PM at The Pavilion.

Click here to see the full gallery

Josh Dube | Photo: Sonja Purtteman

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Oly Town Artesians took the undefeated defending champion Tacoma Stars Reserves to the brink on Saturday night, but their upset bid was held off in the last seconds in a 6-5 loss at The Pavilion at Evergreen. The Stars Reserves never trailed in the game but also never held more than a two goal lead and they gave up a season high five goals to the Artesians before extending their winning streak to 17 games.

The two teams started out strong in the first quarter, but Oly’s starting goalkeeper, JJ Olson, took a shot straight to the cheek and had to be removed from the game after five minutes of play. The experienced Stars Reserves managed to sneak three goals past backup Hunter Bowman, who made just his second appearance as an indoor keeper, and took a 3-1 lead after the first 15 minutes of play.

Olson returned to goal for the second quarter and Collin Tate got the Artesians to within one, 3-2, with a power play goal. But a long clearance that snuck out of bounds led to a free kick from the top of the circle that JJ Schmeck buried with 22 seconds left in the quarter to give Tacoma a 4-2 lead at the half.

Josh Dube made it a one goal game again, 4-3, early in the third quarter but the two defenses and two goalkeepers, Olson and Stars Reserves keeper Alek Greenleaf, played fantastic for the rest of the third quarter and well into the fourth quarter until Tacoma’s Adrian Correa made it 5-3 with 4:27 left to play. Manny Nicasio answered just 18 seconds later and got Oly to within one once again. But with the Artesians pressing to get the equalizer, a turnover led to what proved to be the game winner by Nate Ford with 2:46 left.

Oly brought on a sixth attacker late and Mitch Balmer’s goal with 24 seconds made it 6-5. Oly peppered Greenleaf with a series of shots in the final seconds but couldn’t get the equalizer and the young squad dropped a hard fought decision to a Reserves team full of players either currently signed to professional contracts with the Tacoma Stars or to former professionals, 6-5.

The loss dropped the much improved Artesians to a hard luck 2-3-0 after the Western Indoor Soccer League’s first half. They will play three of their final five games at home including the second half opener on Saturday, January 11th against the Oly-Pen Force. First kick for the first game of 2020 at The Pavilion is set for 6:35.

Tacoma, meanwhile, improved to 5-0-0 and they have not lost since they fell in the 2017-2018 championship game to Bellingham United.

Tacoma Stars Reserves goals: Diego Aceves, Adrian Correa, Nate Ford, Mark Lee, Douglas Lima, JJ Schmeck
Oly Town Artesians goals: Mitch Balmer, Josh Dube, Manny Nicasio, Collin Tate, Esau Vazquez