It only took moments for the thrill of victory to turn to the agony of defeat.
Last Thursday’s Medical Lake boy’s Northeast A League soccer showdown with Lakeside at Medical Lake Middle School turned once and for all on a momentary mental lapse as the Eagles scored a 3-2 win.
Dallas White had just single-handedly tied the game in the 78th minute with his close-in kick from the middle that found the top of the net. And the celebration had begun.
But before the Cardinals could get settled down Donovan Dewey took advantage of a quick loss of focus and scored the game winner a minute later for the Eagles who stayed undefeated (7-0 NEA, 9-3 overall) in NEA play. and won their third straight against Medical Lake (4-3, 7-6).
“I always tell these guys you have to be focused,” head coach Zane Higgins said. “You have to especially be focused five minutes after a goal when another team scores on you and five minutes after you score.”
That’s the easiest time to let down, he said.
But what troubled Higgins the most was that it happened twice. Just a minute after Tony Manzo’s penalty kick in the 29th minute gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, Dewey got his first goal at 30 minutes. The teams were tied at the break until Ryan Quigley’s headed in a corner kick at 56 minutes gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead. That seemed safe until White went to work with a series of moves that freed him in the middle where his chip shot traveled through defenders and over the outstretched arms of Lakeside keeper Ty Lahue.
Pushing aside the disappointment, “I thought we played really well,” Higgins said. “I thought that was the best we played them all year.” It was one of the best games his team has played all year, period. “I’m happy about that.”
The Cardinals played their usual defensive game limiting Lakeside to nine shots while getting seven off themselves. Brendan Satcher made three saves in the ML goal.
Earlier in the week the Cards rolled over Riverside 7-0 (0-7, 0-10) as Ryan Spangler scored twice and added an assist. White had a pair of goals. Manzo connected on another penalty kick, Will Nobel and Steven Velasquez all scored single goals.
Medical Lake peppered the Rams with 17 shots while giving up just three shots themselves. Satcher and Colton Raczykowski teamed in the net to make all three saves.
A win over Lakesidewould have served two purposes, one to let Medical Lake they know they can beat Lakeside and two, to solidify second place in the regular season heading into the playoffs.
That lack of concentration needs to fix itself, or be fixed, come playoff time. Medical Lake is sitting pretty comfortably in second place.
While Newport could overtake the Cardinals the odds are long as they would have to win out with games against Lakeside and the Cardinals on the horizon.
Medical Lake will have hopefully settled the issue with a win at Newport (3-4, 6-6) this past Tuesday before today’s (April 25) Senior Day at the MLMS field at 4 p.m.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.