BOTHELL — For the first 66 minutes Friday, Lake Stevens and Lynnwood waged a scoreless defensive battle in their Wesco 4A boys soccer crossover match. That made the final 14 minutes look like an offensive explosion.
All three of the game’s goals were scored in those 14 minutes with Lake Stevens escaping with a 2-1 victory.
Michael Zavalza, a senior forward for the Vikings, got Lake Stevens on the board with 13:39 to play when he beat his defender down the field and dribbled around Lynnwood’s charging goalkeeper, Gerardo Reyes-Ortega to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
“He just had a lot of strength and he was able to overcome and he was able to push it past the keeper,” Lake Stevens head coach Kit Shanholtzer said.
The scored remained 1-0 until the Vikings earned a corner kick with just over four minutes to play. Zavalza took the corner and got the ball to midfielder Jon Erickson, who assisted Ahin Ali on the goal.
Shanholtzer didn’t know at the time, but Ali’s goal proved to be the game-winner.
“(The second goal) let us breathe,” he said. “We were just trying to hold the win hold the lead and so that second goal was paramount. It was nice to be able to relax a little bit.”
But the Vikings couldn’t relax too much. Lynnwood had several chances to score in the final four minutes and finally converted when Momodou Drammeh scored on a rebound with 11.1 seconds to play in the game.
The goal proved to be too little too late for the Royals.
Lake Stevens came into the game in second place behind undefeated Snohomish in the Wesco 4A North and Lynnwood was second in the South behind Mariner. Nothing came easy for either squad on Friday.
“It was a very defensive match today,” Shanholtzer said. “We had a lot of intercepted passes. Both offensively and defensively we were passing to the other team a lot. I think they were just in the passing lanes and their defensive structure seemed to be very effective.”
The Vikings had to capitalize on the chances they had because there weren’t many to speak of and Lynnwood seemed to control the possession for most of the night.
“They were doing a really good job possessing the ball and we were fighting on our heels most of the time,” Shanholtzer said.
Lake Stevens scored on both of its legitimate opportunities to score in the second half. The Vikings only had one in the first half, when defender Zach Bush hit a shot of the top of the crossbar. Lynnwood on the other hand had the ball on the Vikings side of the field quite a bit and had several opportunities, but were only able to score the one late goal.
“I think we could have carved out a few more chances if we had been more composed in the last third (of the game),” Lynnwood assistant coach Martin Rourke said. “I think if we had taken the chances the possession gave us we would have been in that game for sure.”
Ultimately, the difference was that simple. Lake Stevens finished its opportunities and Lynnwood didn’t.
“Credit to them,” Rourke said. “They had two chances and they took both of them. We had a lot of chances and we only took one. It’s that simple.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
At Lynnwood H.S.
Goals — Michael Zavalza (LS), Ahin Ali (LS), Momodou Drammeh (L). Assists — Jon Erickson (LS) 2. Goalkeepers — Lake Stevens: Brennen Countryman; Lynnwood: Gerardo Reyes Ortega. Records — Lake Stevens 7-2-0 league, 7-2-2 overall; Lynnwood 5-3-1, 6-3-1.