Othello boys soccer coach Bernie Garza made his team a pretty big promise for 2015.
“I promised them if we get another chance at the Final Four, we will win,” Garza said.
That’s a lot to live up to. Then again, Garza has an awful lot of faith in the Huskies (18-4), who finished fourth in the Central Washington Athletic League regular-season standings but outlasted the top three CWAC teams at districts by winning its last six games.
Othello (18-4) will take on Fife (18-1) in the Class 2A state semifinals at 8 p.m. today at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
“This group of players has been involved in some real good battles and come out on top. So, they are battle tested and are ready,” Garza wrote in an email. “I like the way we have handled practicing on turf these past two days. Our guys are physically and mentally ready. All we need to do is execute the game plan, use or strengths against them and pressure their players when they are passing.”
The Huskies have been to state each of the last four seasons, but this is their first trip to the semifinals since 2002, when they took home a third-place trophy. Othello has never won a state title in boys soccer. But Garza is counting on his team’s experience in big games to carry them into the championship game.
“Last year we beat (defending state champion Cheney) 1-0 in the first round of the state playoffs. This year we beat the defending 1A state champions Quincy convincingly 3-1 in the district title game,” he said. “We have since beaten White River 4-2 and Pullman 2-1 in the state playoffs game this year. We are ready.”
The Connell Eagles have high hopes, too, after beating Brewster and Overlake on the road to reach the Class 1A Final Four. The Eagles, who have won nine of their last 10 games, have a rich history at state, winning back-to-back championships in 2002-2003 under coach Hugo Garcia.
But this is their first state tournament appearance since 2010, and — at 4 p.m. in Sumner — they will be facing a Highland team they’ve already lost to twice this year.
“I have been preparing this team for a while, and I know that they will respond well and they have the experience of being the underdogs,” Garcia said. “They know we need to play as a team to be able to beat Highland first and then we see what we need to do to get ready for the other match on Saturday.”
2B SEMIFINALS: DeSales is the Mid-Columbia’s lone team left in the WIAA playoffs, and the Irish will take on Adna at 4 p.m. today at Wheeler Field in Centralia in a semifinal.
Toledo plays Colfax at 7 p.m. in the other semifinal.
DeSales beat Warden 3-0, then Brewster 4-2 last weekend in the state regionals.