No doubt there will be a lot of respect between the two sides when Hanford visits Mid-Columbia Conference rival Kennewick at 7 p.m. today at Lampson Stadium in the Class 4A boys soccer state quarterfinals.
Just don’t expect a lot of friendly chit-chat.
The Lions beat the Falcons twice during the regular season, getting late goals in each to decide the one-goal victories.Kennewick (16-3) won the MCC title thanks to an athletic and cohesive back line that helped keep the goalkeeping tandem of Jose Rodriguez and Henry Hernandez out of trouble. In 19 games, the Lions gave up just eight goals, including a scoreless streak of 609 minutes that ended in a 3-2 first-round win over Enumclaw.
Kennewick is led on offense by Ramiro Chavez (8 goals) and Adrian Rojo (6 goals)
Hanford (14-6) may have been swept by Kennewick, but the Falcons did some damage of their own in the MCC, sweeping both games against the league’s top 4A seed Richland.
Hanford doesn’t rely on star power, but several players have stepped up to provide quality playmaking, including Mario Zarate (9 goals, 5 assists), Will Bishop (5 goals, 5 assists) and Jacob Bogen (3 goals, 5 assists).
The Falcons also have a quality back third as well, anchored by junior captains Kyle McMurrich and Kelly Smith, to front for goalkeeper Jacob Thiel (7 shutouts).
"Coach (Mike) Pardini is a great tactician, but we've got some of our own tactical schemes," Kennewick coach Brian Gochoel said. "Whoever wins will be a worthy MCC representative to the Final Four."