MUKILTEO — The similarities between the Zach Bushes continue.
Both Kamiak and Lake Stevens soccer teams have a Zach Bush on their roster. Each Bush wears No. 15 for his squad, each is a senior at his respective school and, Tuesday night, each Bush left Kamiak High School with his team gaining one point in the standings.
A late equalizer by the Vikings gave the Knights and Lake Stevens a 1-1 tie after a hard-fought contest in a wet and windy Wesco 4A crossover game.
“It turns out when two Zach Bushes collide, no one wins,” Lake Stevens head coach Kit Shanholtzer said. “It was actually pretty good. Just all the stories that came out in the last little bit. It turns out that our Zach Bush has a cat named Joe and their Zach Bush has a dog named Joe. We just had a lot of giggles with it the last 24 hours.”
The two Zach Bushes even went head-to-head a bit on the soccer field.
“It was really man-to-man most of the time. Half the time their Zach Bush won, half the time our Zach Bush won,” Shanholtzer said. “It was an epic battle. It was a lot of fun. It was a fight.”
Kamiak struck first in the 57th minute when forward Jason Kim kicked a through ball to Eric Koegler, who netted a goal on the far post.
The Kamiak goal caught Shanholtzer, who was looking to his bench organizing a substitution, by surprise.
“I look up and all of a sudden there’s a goal,” Shanholtzer said. “It was so nonchalant. … But after they scored it definitely lit a fire in us and we felt the urgency and fought back.”
Lake Stevens tied it 15 minutes later when a cross from Lake Stevens’ Zach Bush found Jose Gayton about a foot in front of the goal. Gayton fired the ball into the back of the net to tie the score. Nobody else scored through the final eight minutes of regulation and a 10-minute overtime period.
“It was two differing styles,” Kamiak head coach Kosta Pitharoulis said. “Both styles are effective in a 1-1 tie. The play had a good flow to it. It was back and forth and both teams were really into the game.”
There was some disagreement over whether or not Gayton was offsides on his goal. It differed based on which side of the field you were on.
“It depends on who you ask. If you ask Kamiak defenders the goal scorer was offside,” Pitharoulis said with a laugh. “If you ask Lake Stevens, he was in the perfect spot. It’s all about perspectives.”
Both teams had chances to score in the overtime period, but struggled — in part because of the stormy conditions.
“There were multiple opportunities on both sides in the last 10 minutes of overtime,” Shanholtzer said. “It was just hair-raising.”
Kamiak (7-2-1 league, 7-2-3 overall), currently leads the Wesco 4A South after going 3-1-1 against the 4A North in crossover games. The Knights are trying to hold off Mariner and a surging Cascade team to win a league title.
“We’re grateful for the point just because it helps us out,” Pitharoulis said. “Mariner is right there. We need every point we can get. Before anything, we want to be Wesco South champs.”
Meanwhile, Lake Stevens (7-2-1, 7-2-3) is trying to keep up with Snohomish in the North, which has built a decent lead a little over halfway through the season.
“We’re trying to at least procure the second spot,” Shanholtzer said. “Our biggest goal is to play in the postseason and get to the state tournament. We’re trying at all times to get as many points as possible. I’m really happy with our guys fighting back from one goal down.”
At Kamiak H.S.
Goals—Eric Koegler (K), Jose Gayton (LS). Assists—Jason Kim (K), Zach Bush (LS). Goalkeepers—Lake Stevens: Vaughn Silver. Kamiak: Tristan Bratvold. Records—Lake Stevens 7-2-1 league, 7-2-3 overall. Kamiak 6-3-1, 6-4-1.