King’s scored two goals in the final two minutes – the game-winner on a miracle shot – to wrestle the district soccer championship 3-2 from South Whidbey High School Saturday, May 4, at Shoreline Stadium.
The Knights avenged two regular-season losses to the Falcons; the reverse of 2018 when King’s won the two conference matches and then fell to South Whidbey in the district title tilt.
With the win, King’s jumps right to the bi-district championship match with Overlake Saturday, May 11, at Sultan. Win or loss, the Knights move on to the state tournament.
The tough loss to King’s makes South Whidbey’s trip to state much steeper.
The Falcons will need to win two loser-out contests to return to state, where the finished fifth last spring.
South Whidbey plays the winner of Lynden Christian and Bush at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 9, in Sultan.
If the Falcons win, they will play the survivor of Meridian/Seattle Academy/Mount Baker for third place and the final state berth.
The loss to King’s not only knocked South Whidbey out of the bi-district title match but also took some of the joy out of a new school single season scoring record set by Michael Lux. He scored both South Whidbey goals and now has 27 this season, breaking Jeff Meyer’s mark of 25 set in 2015. Lux also has the career scoring record with 72.
King’s 3, South Whidbey 2
After the Falcons defended a corner kick with two minutes left in the match, the Knights recirculated the ball and took advantage of a South Whidbey defensive mistake, according to Falcon coach Emerson Robbins, to net the equalizer.
A short time later, King’s was awarded a free kick at midfield, and the Knights’ keeper Gunnar Morehead launched the game winner from beyond 50 yards in the final seconds to secure the district title.
“I’d guess if their keeper took that same kick 40 or 50 times, he wouldn’t score on it again,” Robbins said. “But he did…and that was the final nail in our coffin.”
“I’ve been coaching for over 35 years and have never lost a game in which we had a two-goal lead going into the last few minutes,” he added. “Definitely one of the toughest losses I’ve experienced as a coach.”
Robbins lauded King’s coach Matt Sporn for his “gutsy game plan.”
Sporn moved center back Christian Engmann, who Robbins called the best center defender in the conference, to an attacking role.
South Whidbey scored five minutes into the match on a goal from Lux off an assist from Nevin Daniels.
The Falcons, however, later failed to convert on two other excellent scoring opportunities in the half.
With two minutes left in the opening period, Sporn’s move of Engmann paid off, and the talented Knight tied the score.
“The second half, Cormac Workman, our energizer defensive mid, tightly marked Christian and pretty much took him out of the game,” Robbins said.
Lux put the Falcons ahead in the second half when he won a deep ball in the box and drove home a goal, setting up the Knights’ improbable finish.