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Thursday’s 1A Soccer: United Returns to District Title Game

SEMIS: Toledo-Winlock Squad Edges White Salmon 1-0 on VanVleck’s Late Header

VANCOUVER — Jonathan VanVleck scored with a few minutes left in regulation to give United a 1-0 win over White Salmon here Thursday in the semifinals of the District 4 1A Boys Soccer Tournament.

The win secures a spot in the State 1A playoffs for United, which improved to 16-1 on the season with the win.

“As a group, it was a really tough first half, but we just scrapped and battled,” United coach Horst Malunat said. “Jonathan VanVleck just put his body on the line tonight and got on that header, but he was battling the whole time. He really stepped it up tonight for us.”

In the 76th minute Nicholas Patching launched a cross towards the goal, and VanVleck headed the ball into the net for what proved to be the game’s only goal.

Goalkeeper Alan Contreras recorded his 11th clean sheet of the season in the win.

United had played two close 1A Trico League games with the Bruins during the regular season, winning 2-0 on the road and 3-0 at home.

Winning the Trico championship, though, meant United had a first-round bye in the district tournament.

“They had momentum and they came in very hard,” Malunat said, pointing out that White Salmon won last year’s league title but wound up missing the state tournament. “We’re hopefully going to break that curse and get into that district championship game Saturday and win it.”

United, which won last year’s district championship, will defend its title on Saturday against Hoquiam

Hoquiam beat Montesano on Thursday in the tournament’s other semifinal match, with a 6-5 edge in the penalty-kick shootout after a 1-1 regulation tie.

“It’ll be kind of up in the air to see how things go. We haven’t played them, and sometimes that’s a good thing,” Malunat said. “I think playing a different opponent might give us a little more juice and a little more excitement to do something new.”

United and Hoquiam face off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, back at King’s Way Christian School in Vancouver.

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