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Sunday, May 27, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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High School Sports

Class 3A boys soccer: Bearcats leave Class 3A with state championship

Seattle Times staff reporter

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EVERETT - The last Class 3A state championship trophy for Monroe will soon be on display at Monroe High School. The Bearcats move up in state athletic classifications to the 4A level next season.

But senior Josh Carswell wasn't thinking about next year when he hugged Monroe Coach Paul Hurme with tears in his eyes. Stanford-bound senior Alex Pagon never had it in mind as he scored Monroe's fourth goal in the penalty-kick shootout. Injured senior Erik Williams had more on his mind as he crossed himself and prayed.

The Bearcats let all of their emotions out after defeating Mercer Island 1-0 for the Class 3A boys soccer state title last night at Everett Memorial Stadium. To win, five Bearcats had to make pressure-packed penalty kicks in the deciding shootout, and one of the five repeated the performance he gave in Monroe's semifinal win Friday.

Ben Dragavon, Monroe's junior goalkeeper, stopped Islander senior Ross Miller's penalty shot, Dragavon's second save in the shootout, to lead the Bearcats (20-3) to the first state championship for any Monroe sports team since 1953.

"I'd like to have gotten it done a little earlier," said Dragavon, who stopped two Lakeside shots in the shootout Friday to send Monroe to the title game. "I was hoping to get to a shootout. I was confident we'd win."

Brian Gullickson, a sophomore, was called upon to be the sixth Monroe shooter in the penalty kicks after both teams had gone through their five-man shooting rotations and the penalty kick score was knotted at 4. Gullickson came through, then watched as Dragavon made the winning save.

The Islanders (17-3-2) outran Monroe and had a number of opportunities to win during regulation, but Dragavon blocked second-half shots by Collin Rigby, Carver Peterson and a Rigby header in the 78th minute.

"It's a tough way to lose," MI Coach Steve Newman said. "We had a great run and a great season. We should've finished a few (chances). I'm glad we made it this far."

Hurme was more than impressed with his team's season. "It's a team of overachievers," the coach said. "These guys have done the unexpected all season long."

Monroe 1, Mercer Island 0, shootout (Monroe shootout goals - Ben Dragavon, Brett Walsh, Eric Natividad, Alex Pagon, Brian Gullickson; Mercer Island shootout goals - Ian McLeod, David Sage, Ethan Galloway, Carver Peterson. Records - Monroe 20-3-0, Mercer Island 17-3-2.

Third-place game

Lakeside 2, West Valley (Yakima) 1 -- The Lions (19-2), who had their 18-game winning streak snapped by Monroe in a semifinal shootout loss, bounced back to take third place after breaking away from a 0-0 halftime deadlock. Noah Jaffe and Andrew Kitchell each scored for Lakeside, which placed second last year. West Valley (22-2) entered the semifinals unbeaten and ranked seventh in the nation but lost two straight.

Lakeside 2, West Valley (Yakima) 1 (Lakeside goals - Noah Jaffe (Andrew Kitchell) 50:00, Kitchell (Michael Press) 53:00; West Valley goal - Ryan Delo (un) 54:00.

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