Issaquah Eagles fight Mount Si Wildcats to scrappy draw

March 20, 2012

By Sebastian Moraga

Alex Shane (left), Issaquah High School junior, and Mount Si High School senior defender Chace Carlson battle early in the first period March 15, shortly after Shane’s goal for the Eagles and just before Carlson’s tying score for the Wildcats in the 1-1 contest. By Greg Farrar

Whatever notion the Mount Si High School Wildcats had that this season would be easy lasted 15 seconds.

In the 16th second of their match against visiting Issaquah, the Eagles stunned the Wildcats with a score.

Whatever notion the Issaquah Eagles had that their season’s second match would go as easy as their first — a 3-0 road win at Auburn Mountainview — lasted hardly any time longer.

Because for the next 20 minutes, the Wildcats pressed the Eagles until the tying tally came along, and then pressed some more.

In the end, the 1-1 tie was fair prize for two teams that showed focus, heart and talent, even early in the 2012 season to serve soccer fans with a fine contest.

“I was really pleased with the way we played,” Issaquah Head Coach Jason Lichtenberger said. “We possessed the ball really well, we defended well.”

The first half of the game was a Bizarro World version of the Eagles’ first half against Auburn Mountainview. Against them, they dominated the first half, but went to the break tied at 0. Against Mount Si, the Eagles scored early and then endured a barrage from the hosts.

The fans were still trickling in from the parking lot when Issa-quah’s Alex Shane sank a low shot past the Mount Si goalie from about 14 yards out on the left flank.

“I really liked how we executed early,” Lichtenberger said of the 1-0.

Touched in its pride, Mount Si responded by cornering the boys in purple. With 21 minutes left in the half, a cross shot from Mount Si’s Dane Aldrich on the left wing found Chace Carlson’s head in the heart of the box. The header rocketed past the Eagles’ keeper for the 1-1.

Issaquah bent but did not break.

“Mount Si was really taking it to us for a while and we weathered the storm really well,” Lichtenberger said.

While the hosts kept pressuring, the Eagles woke back up, and the game became an entertaining battle of wits between two teams with high hopes for the season.

The second half could have ended even better for the Eagles, but two last-minute hurrahs late in the second half ended up kissing the posts.

“It would have been great for one of those to go in,” Lichtenberger said, later adding, “The fact that we showed we had the will to really want to win a game that could have gone either way, I was very pleased with that.”

Mount Si head coach Darren Brown praised the Eagles’ efforts.

“I love playing Issaquah,” he said. “We always have good battles.”

Both teams, Issaquah at 4A and Mount Si at 3A, want to not just play well but to take the KingCo crown this year.

“It’s been our goal for the last couple of years,” Eagle senior midfielder Akash Ramachandran said. “We think this is the year.”

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