Goalkeeper Ricardo Escalante set the stage with two diving saves. Reece Wiyrick finished it with a penalty kick.
And then the Redmond players and crowd went wild, diving on top on Escalante after the Mustangs defeated Mercer Island, 1-0, in a PK shootout to claim the 3A KingCo title for the first time in 11 years on Tuesday night at Redmond High.
“I was extremely nervous, my legs were shaking before I went up,” Wiyrick said of his final PK. “I just picked my spot and went for it, just stayed with it. I don’t even know what to say, it was crazy (making the shot). It was all a blur.”
Chances were aplenty on both sides of the ball, but neither squad could crack the back of the net during regulation and overtime.
Redmond advances to state while Mercer Island will take on Interlake on Thursday in a loser-out match.
Redmond upped its overall record to 14-3-0.
“We are a team and we fight together,” Escalante said. Wiyrick noted that his keeper saved the Mustangs multiple times during the match, and he also praised Jacen Stein, Angel Hernandez and Victor Araujo for their stellar play.
After 90 minutes of ace soccer from both teams — and crowds roaring in both grandstands — it came down to the goalkeepers versus the shooters for the championship.
Redmond keeper Escalante made two saves and the Mustangs outscored the Islanders 4-2 to grab the trophy. Also hitting their PKs for the Mustangs were Hernandez, Martin Dadzie and Ethan Cain. Redmond had one miss during PKs and Mercer Island’s Matthew Capone and Hunter Bauman cashed in their kicks.
“I love PKs, I don’t shy away from them. I make a statement every single time I walk up,” said Escalante, noting that he wanted to win on the Mustangs’ home pitch. “Redmond’s my home, I plan to keep it that way. That’s the only thing that was going through my mind.”
For Mercer Island (13-3-1 overall), goalkeeper Adam Braman made several saves during regulation and OT and the Islanders nearly won in the first sudden-death session, but a shot hit the post.
Redmond almost put the game away in the second OT period as the ball bounced around like a pinball in front of the keeper and then a shot rifled just over the crossbar.
MI coach Colin Rigby was impressed with what the teams had to offer in the biggest match of the season thus far.
“Probably one of the best games I’ve seen in KingCo in a while as far as clean, good quality,” he said.
Added Wiyrick: “We knew it was gonna be a tough game coming in here. We just had to power through.”
Stein was all sweat and smiles following the match and said he was glad to see the Mustangs put everything together in the second half against a solid MI squad.
As for OT, Redmond lost to Interlake in extra time in the second round last year and Stein and his teammates looked back on that game.
“When we were going into overtime, I said it again, ‘We were in this situation before, just keep our heads focused, let’s get one. Try to be sound defensively.’ That’s just what we did, we just kept everything calm and cool.”