WARRENTON - The Seaside Gulls were less than four minutes away from a 1-1 tie with the defending state champions Thursday night.
That's about when La Salle's Dakota Eisel took an entry pass from Peter Nguyen and directed a header over Seaside goalkeeper Mark Ulbricht and into the net, helping the Falcons escape with a 2-1 victory at H.H. Snow Volunteer Field in Warrenton.
"I'm pretty happy, if we can play La Salle to 2-1," said Seaside coach Jon Broderick. "They're not the powerhouse that they have been in the past, but the main thing is that our boys are starting to put together a whole game and an effort they can be proud of."
The Gulls had just one shot on goal and La Salle controlled the time of possession in the first half, but a second-half goal by Seaside's Julio Granillo lit a fire under the Gulls, who outplayed the visitors in the final 40 minutes.
Broderick did not make any big changes at halftime - the Gulls just turned it up a notch.
"We don't have enough people or talent to change anything at halftime," Broderick said. "We just went back out with the same guys we had on the field in the first half.
"We're trying to get our passing game back," he said. "That's what we were trying to establish. We're not very fast, so we have to pass the ball around, and I thought the guys did a pretty good job of it."
The difference turned out to be a penalty kick score for the Falcons nine minutes into the contest.
La Salle's Steven Zychla was fouled in the penalty area, and converted the PK. The Falcons maintained their 1-0 lead for the next 40 minutes.
La Salle had several more near-miss attempts the remainder of the first half, most of which were knocked down by Ulbricht.
"La Salle made some creative runs," Broderick said. "They had guys just appear out of nowhere, and we had some trouble marking. We have to make sure we're picking guys up."
Granillo scored his goal 9:50 into the second half - a long-range shot just in front of the Seaside bench, some 40 yards away. Granillo took advantage of a nice wind at his back, and the ball found the upper left corner of the net, just over the outstretched arms of La Salle keeper Parker Kimball.
"I remember I was standing in the same position years and years ago, when I saw a kid from Astoria score from the same spot. This was the same deal," Broderick said, recalling a shot by former Fisherman Nick Niedenthal that beat Seaside.
"That's the guy," Broderick said. "I thought, 'Well, that's a goal.' This was the same shot I saw 12 years ago."
After Granillo's score, the Gulls had seven more shots on goal, including a few long-range free kicks by Ian Hawksford that either turned into narrow misses or saves by Kimball.
Hawksford also delivered a nice pass to Aaron Chesnut, whose header was saved by Kimball, as was another attempt by sophomore Jesus Frias.
A shot-on-goal attempt by Seaside's Ed Soller missed wide right in the 29th minute of the second half, and another free kick attempt by Hawksford four minutes later was knocked down by Kimball.
"I thought we had some good moments," Broderick said. "We possessed the ball well and we had some good chances."