LANGLEY — “Hat Trick Patrick” Myatt knew what was at stake.
As he lined up to kick, the outcome of the game and a 2A District 1 playoff berth lay at his feet. Players from both teams linked arms in anticipation.
The Falcons and their fans put all hopes on their senior co-captain in his last game on Waterman Field.
Myatt felt confident as he planted his right foot hard into the ground as the goalie of the Sultan Turks dove in defense. The ball flew straight down the center of the net, rocketing the Falcons to victory.
The fans and players ran and mobbed Myatt as he took a celebration slide along the sideline.
The South Whidbey Falcons (7-0-6 in Cascade Conference; 9-0-7 overall) took down the Sultan Turks (7-0-8; 7-0-9) in a game decided by a shootout after two five-minute sudden-death overtime periods and an 80-minute regulation period.
“I knew I was going to make it,” Myatt said. “With the team at my back and the high stakes, there was no way I could miss.”
Myatt, who scored three goals, finished the shootout, making the final score 3-2.
“It’s absolutely a momentum builder coming into the playoffs,” said South Whidbey head coach Joel Gerlach.
“I mean, they got a couple of lucky shots off that made us go into overtime. But for the guys to put that much energy into it and be committed, we definitely left it all out there on the field,” he said.
South Whidbey senior goalkeeper TJ Russell deflected three out of the five shots the Turks had in the shootout.
The game on Monday night was a tie-breaker that would determine the final seedings in the conference and district playoffs. The Falcons acquired a third-place finish in the Cascade Conference and a higher seed in the district playoffs.
The Turks settled for fourth place, and will play in the district tournament on Wednesday against the fifth-place team in the Northwest Conference.
After several early close opportunities to score, Myatt put the Falcons on the board in the 20th minute after a breakaway pass from sophomore Connor McCauley. Sultan goalkeeper Danny Arroyo tried to cut down the angle in opposition to Myatt, but he kicked the ball into the upper right side of the net, hurdling over the goalie as he did so.
“It was a great through ball by Connor [McCauley],” Myatt said of the early goal. “I was just making a run for it and he found me. I have to credit Connor, he made it a lot easier to score.”
Only a few minutes later Sultan was on the offensive again.
Turk senior Simon Chavez took the ball near the goalie box and was fouled by McCauley. Chavez was given a penalty kick and converted it to the left side of the net, tying the game at 1-1 in the 25th minute.
The Falcons kept a fast-paced Turk team at bay with several key clears near the end of the first half by senior defender and co-captain Dean Freundlich.
“I want the other players to be intimidated by my aggressiveness,” Freundlich said. “For them, not wanting to shoot the ball from closer in and to shoot from outside is my goal. I want them to know that there’s a presence and that they won’t be able to just walk in.”
Sultan took a late lead when Brian Ordonez scored in the 65th minute to make the score 2-1.
It was shortly after that Myatt scored his second goal. Myatt shot a high lob that deflected off a Sultan defender and soared out of the grasp of goalkeeper Arroyo, tying the game again at 2-2.
In the 67th minute, Falcon freshman James Young intercepted a pass from two Sultan defenders and made a break for the Turks’ goal. As the goalie approached Young, he shot high into the right goal post.
Nearing the end of regulation, the Turks stayed on the offensive but were stopped by Russell, who had 10 saves on the day.
Again, key clears by Freundlich halted the Turks, assisted by McCauley and senior defender Thomas White.
Entering the first five-minute overtime period, McCauley stopped two offensives by the Turks. In the third minute of overtime ,Freundlich lunged for a Turk forward, barely missing, leaving a loosely guarded goal. McCauley recovered and cleared the ball back to the offence.
The Turks remained offensive and continued to make breaks at Russell. In the fourth minute of overtime, Adrian Cayetano’s shot on goal into the left side was stopped by a leaping Russell.
In the second overtime period, the Falcons became the aggressors. Falcon sophomore Cameron Coupe desperately tried to reach the corner on defender Zack Cotterill, but failed to do so.
After the whistle from the head referee, the Falcons headed into the shootout period.
Russell was the first to defend, as he dove to his left, deflecting Brian Ordonez’s kick. Freundlich was up next, converting his kick to make the shootout 1-0. Turk Andrew Hill shot high into the right side of the net, faking out Russell and tying the shootout at 1-1. Misses from McCauley and Turk Chris Carbajal sent the shootout to the third round.
Sam Turpin then took to position, scoring his goal in the left corner. Turk Simon Chavez scored.
Russell stopped two more kicks, and on his fifth turn, Russell dove far on the left side of the net to stop Steven Losleben’s attempt.
“It’s really just a mind game between me and the shooter,” Russell said.
“The shooter is supposed to score. It is set up for them to score,” he explained. “Usually you want them to think you’re going one way and then go back to the other. I definitely surprised myself by saving three out of the five kicks.”
Enter Hat Trick Patrick.
Turk goalkeeper Arroyo quickly set up for his defense. After the clearance whistle from the ref, Myatt shot near the middle of the net, faking out the keeper and ending the shootout with a South Whidbey victory.
“There’s nothing else like it,” Myatt said. “Winning the game on the last kick, it was just the best feeling. I tried to stay cool throughout the shootout. After TJ made those stops, it just gave us that much more confidence that we would win the game.”
The Falcons play Bellingham High School at 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 7 in Bellingham at Civic Stadium.
Due to Bellingham S.A.T. testing, the soccer game on May 7 will start at noon at Civic Field in Bellingham. This is earlier than the previously reported 1 p.m. start time.