By David Krueger Herald Writer
MUKILTEO — Kamiak’s soccer team was about 15 seconds away from losing.
Then Knights forward Brandon Wright changed everything.
Wright found the back of the net in stoppage time — immediately after the ensuing kickoff the second half was whistled over — to complete a Kamiak comeback from two goals down. Wright’s late goal forced a 2-2 tie with Cascade in a double overtime game Friday night that featured the top two teams in the Wesco 4A South.
“Getting a couple late goals was great,” said Kamiak head coach Kosta Pitharoulis. “I loved the composure the guys showed and the resolve that they possess. They wanted this thing.”
Kamiak needed to rally after Cascade scored two goals in the first five minutes of the second half. In the 42nd minute, Jorge Heredia found the back of the net for the game’s first goal, and sophomore forward Samuel Agyei added another score off a Luis Chavez free kick three minutes later to put the Bruins up 2-0.
“We’ve been there before,” Cascade head coach Sam Croft said he told his team at the break. “Last week we were down one at Lynnwood (at halftime), so 0-0 is way better. We knew we could do it. The beauty of coaching guys at this age is they understand the game really well. I just guide. I’d love to take any amount of credit but I don’t want to lie. They’re just a great group of guys.”
The score remained that way until Chance Lord got Kamiak on the board in the 53rd minute. After a boot by Knights goalkeeper Tristan Bratvold found a charging Lord, the junior forward got a shot past Cascade goalkeeper Scott Pease to get one back for the Knights.
Kamiak continued to pressure the Cascade goal, with several more scoring opportunities in the game’s final 20 minutes. Both Wright and Lord had shots on goal that were met with big saves by Pease.
“I think I lost one year off my life,” Croft said. “The thing about a team like Kamiak, you know they’re in it for the long run. We didn’t play the full 80. Had we played a full 80 minutes we would have walked away. They scored in the last 15 seconds in the game. My hat’s off to them. They’re a fantastic group.
In the 80th minute the Knights broke through, when Dalton Holdt got the ball to Wright amidst a panic in front of the Cascade goal and Wright put it in.
Neither team scored in two five-minute overtime periods, leaving the game a 2-2 draw. The tie means Kamiak (8-3-2 league, 8-4-2 overall) maintains a three-point advantage over second-place Cascade (7-4-2, 7-5-2) in the Wesco 4A South standings.
“You’ve got the two top teams in Wesco (4A) South right now, playing head-to-head, and what you saw tonight was two teams really wanting to be the Wesco South champs,” said Croft. “It was an awesome game. It’s better than the loss we had (to Kamiak earlier in the season). I know my guys are disappointed right now but we just punched our tickets to districts. We haven’t been to districts in I don’t know how long, so it’s still a positive.”
Both teams clinched district berths with the tie. The Bruins are hoping they get to go against the Knights for a third time in the postseason.
“I’d love to see them again,” Croft said. “I would love to get another opportunity. Now that we’ve tied, we’re due. It’s our turn to win next time.”
Before Friday’s game, it had been exactly a month since Kamiak gave up two or more goals in a game — with the last time occurring in a 3-2 win over Mount Vernon on April 2.
Pitharoulis wasn’t thrilled with the early deficit the Knights found themselves in but he was pleased with the team battling back to get a point out of the game.
“I don’t know the last time that Kamiak won the Wesco South, so that’s our motivation,” Pitharoulis said. “… Being the No. 1 seed into districts is definitely nice. The two goals at the end are important. We’re able to use that momentum. We turn around — with the schedule the way it is — we play again Monday and Wednesday. So we don’t really even have time to train and talk about it. We’re just going to get back up on the saddle and keep going.”
At Kamiak H.S.
Goals–Jorge Heredia (C), Samuel Agyei (C), Chance Lord (K), Brandon Wright (K). Assists–Luis Chavez (C), Tristan Bratvold (K), Dalton Holdt (K). Goalkeepers–Cascade: Scott Pease. Kamiak: Bratvold. Records–Cascade 7-4-2 league, 7-5-2 overall. Kamiak 8-3-2, 8-4-2.