Ninety minutes of soccer settled nothing between the Washougal and Mark Morris boys March 27, at Fishback Stadium.
Shootouts have been the kiss of death for the Panthers in the past, but this night would be different. Michael Wright, Elesey Razumovskiy, Spencer Carnera and Sam O’Hara kicked in the goals to lead Washougal to a 4-3 victory.
“It seems like for my whole life, we’ve never won a shootout,” O’Hara said. “I’d always have a bad taste in my mouth going into those. This time, it was different. It felt like it was our time.”
First-year goalkeeper Caleb Howard preserved the lead with two saves, including a diving deflection on the final shot by the Monarchs.
“I had never practiced those before. It was my first time ever doing PKs,” Howard said. “I completely laid out to the right and blocked it, and everyone screamed and charged right after me. It was one of the most exciting moments in my life.”
Wright got Washougal off on the right football by launching the ball into the left corner for the first goal.
“It was an important game for us to get if we wanted to get first in league,” he said. “I picked a side and told myself to go to the right. But I always shoot with my left, so I switched at the last minute. I was glad when I saw that one go in.”
Razumovskiy devised a unique strategy for his shootout goal.
“I thought about placement over power,” he said. “I imagined I was passing it to my brother. It worked out well.”
Mark Morris gained a 3-2 advantage after the Panthers missed their third attempt, but Carnera was able to tie it back up.
“I didn’t want the goalie to read my eyes,” he said. “I peaked down, found the corner I wanted and I put it in there.”
Howard stopped the next shot for the Monarchs to give Washougal new life. O’Hara then stepped up and regained the lead for the Panthers with a goal.
“I felt like the game was in my hands,” O’Hara said. “It’s my senior year. I’d like it to come down to one of the seniors. It’s our responsibility.”
All eyes at Fishback Stadium were on Howard as he stepped into the net and made that last save.
“My nerves went way up after Sam gave us the lead,” Howard said. “At that moment, it was make it or break it. And I made it.”