Sawyer Price | Photo: Sonja Purtteman

BREMERTON, Wash. – Jesus Meraz-Rodriguez scored in the first half and his brother, Emilio Meraz-Rodriguez, scored the game winner in the second half to lead the Artesians to a 2-1 victory over the Oly-Pen Force at Gordon Field in Bremerton on Saturday afternoon. The win kept the Artesians in the playoff hunt in the Evergreen Premier League’s Cascade Conference with four games left in the regular season.

Oly Town opened the game dominating possession and produced several early chances. The Artesians chipped away at the Oly-Pen defense until Emilio Meraz-Rodriguez worked his way down to the end line and dribbled a pass into the middle that found Jesus Meraz-Rodriguez, who punched it to the right of Force keeper Cole Weaver for a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.

The Force turned the tables on the Artesians to begin the second half and produced many dangerous opportunities until Keeton Heggerness got the final touch on a counterattack right before Oly Town goalkeeper Sawyer Price could get there and tied the game at 1-1 in the 63rd minute.

After the goal, the Artesians tightened up the defense and were able to get more possession going forward, again testing the Force defense. In the 76th minute, Emilio Meraz-Rodriguez received a pass, took two quick touches and fired a laser from 30 yards out, beating Weaver to the right to give them a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.

The Force pressed over the final ten minutes to try to get the equalizer, but Price was up to the task making a handful of saves and the Artesians held on for the 2-1 win. They moved to 2-4-0 with six points in the Cascade Conference and are now five points behind the second place Seattle Stars for a playoff spot. The Force dropped to 3-2-1 and remain in second place in the Rainier Conference.

Oly Town FC will next face the Grays Harbor Gulls on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Washington State Super Cup. First kick at Black Hills High School is set for 7:30 PM. The first 20 fans through the gates will receive an Artesians scarf courtesy of Kevin Hayward State Farm.

The next home Evergreen Premier League game is on Saturday, July 6th when the Tri-Cities Alliance hit the capital city. It’s a 6:00 PM first kick and tickets are available now at www.olytownfc.com/tickets.

Tino Pantaleon | Photo: Sonja Purtteman

OLYMPIA, Wash. – For the second time this season, the Oly Town Artesians and Bellingham United went into second half stoppage time tied 1-1, and for the second time this season, Bellingham scored the game winner in extra time to take a 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Black Hills High School.

Just like in their first meeting in Bellingham, the two teams battled to a scoreless score line in the first half with both Oly Town goalkeeper JJ Olson and Bellingham keeper Hector Gutierrez making a handful of saves over the first 45 minutes.

Shelton High School senior Many Nicasio entered the game at halftime and made an immediate impact taking a pass from Jerome Natt and lifting a shot with his knee over Gutierrez to give the Artesians a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.

But Bellingham answered when Richard Henderson pounced on a rebound and fired it into the top corner making it 1-1 in the 69th minute. Bellingham then took control of the game and produced many chances for the final 20 minutes but the game entered stoppage time still tied 1-1. Finally, after chipping away at the Oly Town defense, Eleazar Galvan – the one-time EPLWA MVP for Wenatchee United – found some space and hooked a shot across his body and past Olson for the game winner in the 92nd minute. The final whistle sounded moments later to give the Hammers a 2-1 win, distancing themselves from the Seattle Stars for first place in the Cascade Conference.

The Artesians will try to regroup when they travel to Bremerton next Saturday to face the Oly-Pen Force at Gordon Field. First kick is set for 3:00 PM

Oly Town FC will return to Black Hills High School for a Washington State Super Cup semifinal match for their next home game. The date and time will be set this week. The next home Evergreen Premier League game is on Saturday, July 6th when the Tri-Cities Alliance hit the capital city. It’s a 6:00 PM first kick and tickets are available now at www.olytownfc.com/tickets.

Manny Nicasio and Jason Fairhurst | Photo: Sonia Purtteman

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Oly Town Artesians return to Evergreen Premier League play when they host Cascade Conference rival Bellingham United on Sunday afternoon at Black Hills High School. Coming off of a 7-0 Washington State Super Cup victory and playing their first league game with new head coach Tom Boatright, the Artesians will look to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Hammers in week one and take a step forward in the conference playoff race.

Tickets for the game are just $8 for adults, $5 for kids 5-12, seniors, military and first responders, and free for kids under 5. We will have Cinco De Mayo serving concessions, the inflatable soccer dart board, the giant soccer ball for kids at halftime, games and prizes including Well 80 Brewhouse gift cards and more. You can purchase tickets at the gate or online at www.olytownfc.com/tickets.

The Artesians enter Sunday’s game following a 3-0 win over the Tri-Cities Alliance in Pasco in their last league game on May 19th. They then knocked off the ISC Gunners 7-0 last Sunday in the Washington Super Cup quarterfinals. Oly started EPLWA play 0-3-0 despite outplaying their opponents for a good portion of each game including a stoppage time 2-1 loss to Bellingham in their first road game of the season.

Surafel Wodajo leads Oly Town with two goals but the Artesians have spread out the scoring in EPLWA play with five other goal scorers. Jason Fairhurst scored twice in the Cup game and Manny Nicasio has provided an offensive spark, scoring once in league play, once in an Artesians Reserves game and once against ISC on Sunday. Defensively, Collin LaBranche was named EPLWA Defensive Player Of The Week for his performance against the Alliance and JJ Olson registered the shutout in goal.

Bellingham United leads the EPLWA’s Cascade Conference with 10 points and are undefeated with three wins and one draw so far. They host the second place Seattle Stars on Saturday before making the trip to Olympia. The Hammers added a nice offensive piece this season with former EPLWA Goal King Eleazar Galvan joining them. He has three goals through four games to lead Bellingham. Goalkeeper Hector Rodriguez registered a shutout in last week’s 0-0 draw against Tri-Cities last Sunday.

Stay up to date with the Artesians all season long by visiting www.olytownfc.com, following them on Twitter at twitter.com/OlyTownFC, and liking them on Facebook at FB.com/OlyTownFC.