SHERWOOD – It seemed whatever Summit did Saturday, it couldn't shake pesky Hood River Valley in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 5A boys soccer final at Sherwood High School.
The second-seeded Storm unloaded their full arsenal at the Eagles' goal – racking up a 30-3 advantage in shots – but ended up in a tight battle all the way to the finish.
Fortunately for Summit (15-1-3), a goal by senior forward Luca Gatto in the 14th minute was good enough to dispatch No. 8 Hood River Valley 1-0 for the Storm's second state championship in three seasons.
“They're a tough team. They hung around,” said Storm senior Bowen Teuber, who had a team-high 13 shots, six of them on goal. “They gave us issues here and there. But we stayed strong.”
The senior-led Storm physically dominated the Eagles (13-5), creating chances in waves.
“I feel like we should've had five goals today,” senior midfielder Tommy Carroll said. “So frustrating. But a win's a win, so we're happy.”
The one-goal lead created some high anxiety, however.
“Just when the ball got in our half, it was nerve-racking,” Carroll said. “We've had the ball the whole time, every single chance. But one shot can make a difference.”
The title is the third for Summit, which won championships in 5A in 2013 and 6A in 2021. Several players remain from the 2021 team, which defeated West Linn 6-0 in the final to complete an unbeaten season.
“Two years ago was unreal,” Teuber said. “We had a really good team, and we did this year. But it's different being a senior, being a leader on this team. I think this one means a little bit more to me.”
The 2021 team reached the top after finals losses in 2018 and 2019.
“That team was so different because they had to face so much adversity with those two losses,” Carroll said. “This team is so different. We've been playing with each other for the last seven years. We're so familiar with each other.”
The Storm won it with a first-year coach in Tom Bunnell, who won five Washington girls state titles in 14 seasons at Issaquah (2004-17). Bunnell, who relocated to central Oregon, decided to take the job at Summit, which lost in the semifinals last year.
“I'm just so happy,” Bunnell said. “These guys have made it so great for me. … I haven't had a group like this in a long time. I had their back, they had mine. It was a special season, for sure. It's been amazing.”
Bunnell sensed early in the season that his team had championship traits.
“We realized that it became real maybe like four games in,” Bunnell said. “I'm like, 'OK, this is a squad.' I haven't coached a team like this in a long time. These guys just had the team concept dialed. I think that won us the game. If you don't have that, you're going to struggle.”
Summit players praised Bunnell.
“I cannot say enough good things about Tom,” Teuber said. “One of the greatest coaches I've ever had, even though it's one year. I love Tom. Great guy, great coach.”
Summit applied pressure from the opening kick against the Eagles, who were the lowest seed to reach any of Saturday's finals.
Off a corner kick in the 14th minute, the Storm created a scramble in front of the goal, where Gatto was first to a loose ball and punched it into the net from close range.
“That's how we did it all season. A scrappy goal,” Carroll said.
From there, Summit continued to press forward but could not get the ball past Hood River Valley sophomore goalkeeper Emmanuel Galindo, who had 13 saves.
The Eagles were undersized but used their quickness and tenacity to pester the Storm.
“It was exactly what we scouted, that they were going to be relentless, and they were,” Bunnell said. “Those guys are so tough. They just make it hard. They don't need to be physical because they're so quick and nippy. They get on you.”
Junior goalkeeper Lucas Carter recorded the shutout for Summit, needing only one save. The center backs, junior Gabe Lachman and senior Ryder Poulin, helped keep the heat off Carter.
“It was next level,” Bunnell said of his defenders. “They literally won every ball.”