Mere inches separated the Issaquah High soccer players from getting the preverbal monkey off their backs Tuesday night.
The Eagles, who haven’t won since the final game of the 2006 season, had several chances to score a go-ahead goal against Mount Si. Instead, the game remained scoreless through regulation and two five-minute overtimes, ending 0-0.
“I think that’s why the tie hurt so much — because we felt like we played well enough to win, and it’s been a long time coming for us,” Issaquah head coach Jason Lichtenberg said. “It’s been something we’ve been focused on and the guys deserved it tonight.”
The Eagles, who out-shot the Wildcats 11-5 in the second half and overtime, received their best opportunity in the 62nd minute when sophomore Lucas Morais broke free on the right side of the box. He blasted a shot that deflected off the foot of a defender. The ball took an awkward bounce, but Mount Si goalkeeper Ryan Herman recovered and reached back to snag the ball. Several players and coaches argued the ball had crossed the line, but the sideline referee explained it was an inch from being a goal.
“It came down to inches,” Lichtenberger said. “Their keeper made a nice play to try and hold it in. It looked like he reached pretty far back.”
Unfortunately for Issaquah, the questionable goal wasn’t the only controversy of the night. The Eagles were called for numerous offsides penalties, several of which were questioned by the Issaquah sideline.
“I would say there was at least 20 (offsides),” Lichtenberger said. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. Whether we agree with the calls or not, we need to make the adjustments as a team and know what’s going on and we were unable to do that.”
While it was tough to see it end in a tie, Lichtenberger was encouraged with what he saw from his team, noting it’s the best all-around effort he’s seen all season.
The defense, along with junior goalkeeper Nick Bannon, earned Issaquah’s first shutout since May, 4, 2006, when the team defeated Liberty 2-0 — also the team’s last win. The offense generated several chances, out-shooting Mount Si 14-10 for the game.
“Their confidence has been high and they’re playing well,” Lichtenberger said. “I hope this one doesn’t get to them too much, because they’re leaving it on the field. Their heart and energy out there has just been incredible this year. It’s just been great to see. It will come for them.”
Issaquah broke a five-game losing streak last Friday, tying Sammamish, 1-1. Sophomore Quinn Grisham gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game. Sammamish tied the contest up seven minutes later on a goal from Nate Wigley. Issaquah was 0-5-2 prior to last night’s contest against Interlake. Results occurred after Reporter deadline. The Eagles take a week off before facing Newport at 7:30 p.m. April 11 on the road.
Spartans down Liberty
Skyline scored four first-half goals to knock off Liberty 4-0 on Tuesday night. Sophomore Alec Kimble got things started in the sixth minute, scoring on an assist from senior Aaron Feuerberg. Senior Talal Basha, sophomore Giancarlo Santoro and freshman Travis Strawn all added first-half scores, while junior goalkeepers Brian Schwartz and Manuel Saubach combined for the shutout. Skyline improved to 4-1-2. Liberty fell to 1-6-1.