By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
BOTHELL — Lynnwood needed just one goal.
After winning five straight games to wrap up the first half of the regular season, the Royals struggled in a pair of losses to Shorewood and Shorecrest and two scoreless ties with Glacier Peak and Meadowdale, two teams Lynnwood beat the first time around.
“The best way to get out of the slump is we need that lone spark,” Lynnwood coach Ryan Camden told his players before their April 20 game with Mountlake Terrace. “That spark is going to generate more possibilities not just for this game but for the rest of the season.”
Momoduo Drammeh provided that spark, scoring three minutes into the first half as the Royals beat the Hawks 3-0 in a Western Conference 3A boys soccer game at Lynnwood High School.
Vinh Nham then scored a goal in the 30th minute and another in the 68th minute. The junior forward leads the Royals with four goals and two assists.
“We were just looking for one goal and we’ve been working on that at practice,” Camden said. “We wanted to gain possession early tonight and hold the possession and wait for the possibility to come. The first one came and the rest started coming.”
Senior goalkeeper Jose Del Rio recorded the shutout. He made several key saves in the first half. His veteran presence definitely helps the Lynnwood defense, Camden said.
The five-game winning streak was something Lynnwood’s players have never experienced before. What seemed to be lacking in the 2-0 loss to Shorewood and the 1-0 loss to Shorecrest was energy.
“We started working on the mental toughness training at practice, trying to get it back,” Camden said. “That’s the biggest part of the game of soccer — mental toughness. We’ve been looking for that spark and energy.”
The 0-0 tie with Meadowdale on April 18 was the first step to climbing out of the slump, Camden said. “We built off Wednesday. We came into tonight knowing that we needed to have a victory.”
It helped that Friday’s game was with a district rival and the Royals (7-4-2 in the league and overall) were fired up before the game.
Camden is hoping the Royals carry the momentum the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs.
“Tonight’s game was like how the first half of the season was,” he said. “If we can play with this tempo and this energy and have the mental toughness then we’ll be fine the next three games.”
The early goal seemed to deflate Mountlake Terrace (3-10-1), who was coming off a disappointing 3-2 overtime loss to Oak Harbor.
“We were recovering from that huge loss,” Hawks coach Gary Hunter said. “Tonight, I thought we were ready to play and ready to play well. Unfortunately, we got a goal scored on us minutes into the game.”
The energy then seemed to drain from the team, Hunter added.
It’s been a tough season for the Hawks, as they are playing under their third head coach in three years.
“We’re making baby steps,” Hunter said. “It’s just really tough when half your team is seniors and this is their third head coach and they’re trying to learn a new system.”
As for their district rival, Hunter sees a promising future for the Royals.
“They’re going to go 4A next year. I think they’ll do well up there,” Hunter said. “They have some talent. You have to respect that.”