Story and photo by Doug Petrowski
The Lynnwood Royals boys soccer team overcame a 1-0 deficit with a goal in the 36th minute of the second half, then another three-and-a-half minutes into overtime to salvage a 2-1 victory over the Mountlake Terrace Hawks Friday night at Lynnwood High School.
Terrace jumped to a quick lead in the 16th minute of the first half when junior Victor Ruelas found the back of the net with a header coming off an Ivan Melchor free kick. The Royals had several chances during the first half to tie, but each shot either missed the mark or was smothered by Hawk goalkeeper Aidan Murray.
“What it comes down to is this was a rivalry game tonight, so what I told the boys was it doesn’t matter skills-wise, it doesn’t matter standings you’re in. All that is out the door,” said Royals Head Coach Ryan Camden. “The number one thing you have to focus on is mental toughness. We needed to come out mentally tough and ready to play and focused. And we weren’t.”
Most of the scoring chances throughout the game fell to Lynnwood, although the Hawks were able to push the ball forward and threaten with long runs by Ruelas. But late in the match it was the Royals who were able to make the plays that mattered.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Lynnwood’s March Granado put a beautiful cross from the right corner into the six-yard box where Biruke T-Giorgis was able to head it past Murray on the short side. Regulation time ended with the score knotted 1-1.
There was uncertainty among the teams and the officiating crew as to whether the game should end in a tie or if an overtime period was to be played. After lengthy discussion, and a couple of phone calls, the referee proceeded with beginning a five-minute sudden-death OT in which the first goal would produce a winner.
Hawk Head Coach Gary Hunter was perplexed by the decision, but conceded. Following the game he called MTHS Athletic Director Kim Stewart for his thoughts on the referee’s decision to play a golden goal overtime period. “(Stewart) said I should have took the players off the field, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to be a poor sport,” Hunter stated.
The overtime was all Lynnwood’s, with one wave of Royal attack after another. With just 90 seconds left in the overtime, from a scramble in front of the Terrace goal, T-Giorgis was able to backheel the ball past two Hawk defenders for the win.
Camden knew his team was fortunate to avoid a big upset after their slow start. “I’m happy with the victory, but it’s a lesson to be learned going forward,” he admitted.
Despite the loss, Hunter was pleased with the Hawk’s effort. “We’re improving. We’re getting better. I can’t complain,” he said.
Lynnwood improved their record to 5-1-1 in Wesco league play, 6-1-1 overall. The Royals face the undefeated Snohomish Panthers on Tuesday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Snohomish. Terrace dropped to 1-4-0 in league play, 2-5-1 overall; the Hawks meet
Stanwood in their next action on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Lynnwood High School.