When Alex Martin stepped up to the ball before his turn in the penalty kick shootout, he felt good about being in the position to knock in the game-winner.
The Overlake School junior shot left and the ball caromed off the post and rolled past the goal line to give the Owls a thrilling 2-1 victory over Lakeside and third place in the 1A state tournament on May 25 at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
Overlake won the shootout, 4-3, and the Owls were elated after rebounding from the previous day’s loss to Winlock/Toledo, 2-1, in the semis.
“I did it for these guys, I did it for the seniors, I did it for my mom, too. I’m just glad we took the W,” said Martin, a defender. “We just fight every game. Every player that comes on the field gives it their 100 percent.”
The Owls — who were the two-time defending state champions — finished their 2019 campaign 15-3-4 overall and won league and district titles.
Against Lakeside, Overlake struck first in the 18th minute when Roman Peterson cracked in a shot from 10 yards out. Lakeside equalized in the 60th minute, and then both squads butted boots and had myriad scoring chances for the final 20 minutes of regulation and two sudden-death, five-minute overtime periods.
Penalty kicks would decide the match.
Overlake’s Esteban Sanchez, Peterson, Evan Williams and Martin tallied their PKs and Owl goalkeeper Lucas Rojas batted away one Lakeside PK attempt and another rocketed off the right post.
Highlights for Overlake before the PK drama unfolded were Emerald City League most valuable player Sanchez swiftly dribbling past and around opponents and drawing “oohs” from the Owl fans, defender Joseph Raymond standing tall and warding off several Lakeside attacks and Zach Foster moving the ball along the baseline, falling while getting challenged by an opponent, rolling over his foe and maintaining possession of the ball.
In the Winlock/Toledo match, Overlake trailed 1-0 after a goal in the 49th minute. Peterson knotted the score with a goal in the 66th minute that pinballed off a few players in close and the Owl knocked it past the keeper. Winlock/Toledo netted the game-winner with a late PK. Overlake had a several chances to tie the game, but couldn’t find the net.
Following the Lakeside match, forward Sanchez — one of 12 seniors on the squad — spoke with a voice that was a bit tattered because of all the emotional shouting during the matches.
“Yesterday (in the semis) was obviously a little tough. We definitely thought we were gonna pull away with that, we kind of dominated that game. It was a little frustrating at the end, but at the end of the day we all hung out, we had dinner together, we talked things through and we stuck together as a family. We came back and we knew we had to end it on a win,” he said.
Sanchez praised his teammates and head coach Scott Lane for unleashing their maximum effort during the season. It’s been a family atmosphere on and off the pitch and Sanchez has enjoyed his four years as part of the program.
“We have a lot of young players and they’ve really stepped up. They’ve done their part and the reason we’ve won games is because of everybody,” he said.
Overlake’s Williams and Raymond earned sportsmanship medals following the two matches.
“Sportsmanship’s been a huge part. We just gotta appreciate the competition, and we’re all out there enjoying soccer,” Sanchez said.