Standout senior striker Tyler Hughes doesn’t know exactly how many assists he has for Squalicum, but he’s just happy it’s more than his team-leading 15 goals for the season.
Hughes’ latest assist was a typical gem.
He made a nifty pass to fellow senior veteran Ben Peterson in the 10th minute for the first goal of the Storm’s 2-0 win over Edmonds-Woodway in the opening round of the Class 3A Northwest District Tournament on Saturday at Civic Stadium.
“Many!” the affable senior said with a grin of his assist total for the Northwest Conference champion Storm (16-0-1), who will face Lynnwood, a 3-1 winner over Marysville-Pilchuck on Saturday, in the semifinals on Tuesday night at Shoreline Stadium.
The winner will clinch a state tournament spot and will advance to the title game of the eight-team event.
It was the sixth goal of the season for Peterson, who also had an assist on junior Ale Tomasi’s 12th goal two minutes into the second half.
Meanwhile, senior Ricardo Solano, in his first season as the starting goalkeeper, saved eight shots to post his 11th shutout -- an impressive total considering he has played in 16 games.
“He’s not the tallest guy in the world (Solano is 5-foot-11), so I always jump a little with him, but he does a great job,” said Storm coach Joe McAuliffe, whose team now has a 62-10 goal advantage overall.
Solano said his back-line defense and his midfielders continue to make his job a pleasure.
Defenders Tyler Nguyen, Erin Brandt, Connor Miller and Beck Werney allowed the Warriors (7-8-2) of the Wesco Conference to take only four shots on goal in each half. Solano made sure-handed saves on all.
“I got comfortable with our guys real fast,” Solano said of his immediate impression of being a starter for a state contender. “We just have a heck of a defense.”
Peterson, as usual, seemed to be all over the field, even though he played striker. The versatile three-sport athlete is among the few players in his conference listed as “Def/Mid/Fwd.”
Those roster slashes are appropriate, considering how slick his quick, hustling style is.
“I’m really proud of how our guys stepped up and played so smoothly and cleanly,” said McAuliffe. “We found the right gaps against a tough team.”