Bluhm's blocks help Marysville-Pilchuck soccer win state opener

LAKE STEVENS — The Marysville-Pilchuck soccer team managed to stay unbeaten, earning the program its first state tournament win in school history.

Carrying a 1-1 tie into overtime and, successively, a shootout, this first-round state game May 19 at Lake Stevens High School looked a lot like the one that ushered the Tomahawks out of the state tournament last year.

Sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Bluhm proved to be the difference-maker. In four Gig Harbor penalty kick attempts, only the second one got past him into the net.

"That was huge," M-P coach Geoff Kittle said of Bluhm's performance in the shootout. "He's gotten more confident in every game. ... He stepped it up big time."

Seth Jones, John Crenshaw and Brady Ballew all converted penalty kicks to give the Tomahawks a 3-1 win in the shootout and a 2-1 first-round victory.

"I love penalty kicks because you're not expected to stop them, but if you do, you're the hero," said Bluhm, who was rewarded with a spontaneous hug by the entire team, who piled up on him after coming up with the winning block.

Senior midfielder Elwood Sevon scored for the Tomahawks in the 13th minute. On a corner kick, Ballew tried to set up Crenshaw, but the Tide was all over the junior forward and the ball came out to Sevon, who remained at the edge of the action, about 20 yards outside of the goal.

Not long after the Tomahawk score, Bluhm took a tough shot to the face as he went out of the goal for a save. Sidelined for the rest of the first half, freshman Ian Beegle stepped in for Bluhm, coming up with some stops but just missing Gig Harbor's tying goal in the 25th minute. Bluhm returned for the second half and the rest is history.

"Being in the bottom of the pile, I was just smiling," Bluhm said.

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