The Grizzlies are back in the semifinals for the first time since 2011 after eliminating Skyline 2-0 in the Class 4A state soccer tournament.

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Danny Guerrero could feel his team’s spirits soar.

One goal was all the Glacier Peak High School boys soccer team needed after three failed attempts to get past the state quarterfinals in the past four seasons.

Under coach Kyle Veach, the memory of painful quarterfinal losses to Lakeside, 4-2 in 2016, and Auburn Riverside, 3-2 in 2015, were particularly haunting thanks to poor starts in each.

Guerrero’s successful penalty kick in the 22nd minute was the key to confidence as the Grizzlies broke through for their first berth in the Final Four since 2011 and first as a Class 4A school with a 2-0 win over Skyline in Saturday’s state quarterfinal match at Skyline High School.

“It just feels good to win in general, and since my freshman year we’ve lost in the quarterfinals (each season) so it feels good to go past the (quarterfinals) and hopefully we can win it all,” said Guerrero after the victory in which his freshman brother, Marco, earned the shutout in goal. “In years past, we’ve gone down in the first half. It feels good to go up and think that’s what got us going, that goal.

“We scored one in the first half and that’s all we needed.”

Glacier Peak (15-4-1) takes on Beamer (17-1-1) in the state semifinals on Friday at 6 p.m. at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium. Beamer advanced by beating Kamiak in a shootout Friday night.

“Losing out in the quarterfinals the last two years was difficult, but this is a different group and a group that believed,” Veach said. “We believed those other years, but we learned from those other years. The boys played like that, and dominated from start to finish.”

Skyline (12-5-2) put the Grizzlies under attack in the final 10 minutes, but couldn’t break through despite numerous corner kicks and dangerous chances. The Spartans put up nine shots on goal in the second half after just three before intermission.

Guerrero, a junior forward, nailed his PK attempt into the lower right corner of the net and out of the reach of Skyline goalkeeper Lucas Richardson to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead. The kick was set up when the Spartans’ Kendrick Lu fouled Glacier Peak’s Keegan Rubio out near the top left corner of the penalty area.

Owen Padilla, a junior midfielder, made it 2-0 Grizzlies with a nifty one-on-one move to separate from a Skyline defender and drive home a 15-yard shot into the far right corner of the net in the 49th minute. The play was set up by a long pass that got Padilla loose in the open field.

“We learned (in past quarterfinals) that the first 40 (minutes) is really important and the start is really important,” Veach said. “You take the Riverside game and we were down 1-0 in five minutes and down 2-0 by halftime. You take the Lakeside game and we were down 1-0 in 30 seconds and 2-0 in seven minutes and 3-0 by halftime.

“From that we learned quite a bit how the level and the stage that this is. It takes skill and luck to win a state championship. We have all the skill in the world, and we’re poised and ready.”


• In the Class 3A state tournament, Garfield  advanced to the semifinals with a 2-1 win over Mercer Island. The Bulldogs will meet Roosevelt, which beat Central Kitsap Friday 3-1. Snohomish, which beat Kamiakin 2-1, will face Gig Harbor.