Senior Timur Akdemir feels his Inglemoor High boys soccer squad has kicked its game up a few notches each season.
Fellow Viking senior Nic Grotle agrees. With a trio of victories in the 4A Wes-King District playoffs and state berth, the Kenmore team is turning some heads around the area’s soccer terrain.
“People have been doubting us this season, so we just wanna show them wrong, and every game we go out with 100 percent,” Grotle said with a voice brimming with confidence. He enjoys playing the sport he’s loved his whole life with his Inglemoor teammates. He can’t wait to compete in each game.
Inglemoor qualified for state with a 4-1 win over Eastlake on May 9 and carries an 8-5-2 overall record into the premier event.The Viks will play next Tuesday or Wednesday at either Rogers (Puyallup) or Tahoma in the first round.
Against Eastlake, Grotle netted two goals — bringing his total to 15 this season — Peter Lie hammered in a side volley and Gabe Fahling started the scoring for the Viks just before halftime.
Earlier in the week, Grotle scored the game-winner in the 76th minute to give the Vikings a 1-0 victory over Redmond in a loser-out match on May 7. Following the 10-yard shot into the left side of the net, Viking players mobbed Grotle, who carried junior David Enderle on his back for a few yards.
Throughout the match, Grotle felt he was getting closer to cracking one into the net.
“At that point, I was like, I knew it was going in when I shot it,” he said.
In the district opener, Inglemoor outlasted Kamiak, 3-2, in overtime to advance in the playoffs on May 4. With Kamiak leading 1-0 after a goal in the 21st minute, Grotle scored goals in the 44th and 56th minutes to put the Viks ahead. Sophomore Lucas Hakamada assisted on both goals. After Kamiak tied the game to force overtime, Akdemir scored the golden-goal game-winner in the 84th minute off assists from Grotle and junior Owen Klee.
Grotle praised Hakamada for controlling the midfield and possessing solid dribbling skills. On the goalkeeper front, sophomore Ashton Fossati-Croot has kept the Vikings in games with a host of key saves, Grotle added. Akdemir noted that after registering a save, his keeper is quick to get the ball into play and start the Vikings rolling up field.
Parts of what happens on the field can also be applied to non-soccer situations. By leading the Vikings, Grotle feels, “this helps me in life to just take charge.”
For Akdemir, character building is a crucial element of playing soccer. Even in the heat of battle, lessons are learned that players can carry with them anywhere.
“I think the main thing for me is how to build people up. If someone makes a bad pass or there’s a mistake, there’s always a better way than yelling at them — you can always build them up,” he said.
When all the Inglemoor players convene as one — after competing on various club teams — a special atmosphere comes into play, Akdemir said.
“There’s a sense of pride to play for the crest on your shirt, Inglemoor, and everyone’s always talking about it at school,” he said. “I think that we represent not only our team, but the whole school as a community.”