Lakewood snaps ATM's 32-match win streak

EVERETT — Lakewood goal keeper Miranda Head has a routine when the whistle is blown at the end of a second overtime and the match is to be decided by a shootout.

"Me and (teammate) Abby (Burke) sit down and have a prayer first, so when I get out there, I'm calm," Head said. "There's nothing you can do in a shootout; you can't really guess, you just have to react."

This is sound advice from a keeper who has seen more shootouts than most high school keepers. The ritual works so well that it kept her heart rate down even when facing the school's potential first win over Archbishop Murphy Sept. 30.

Behind Head, the Cougars snapped the nationally ranked Wildcats' 32-match winning streak with a 1-0 (3-2 in penalty kicks) result, helping Lakewood remain undefeated in Cascade Conference play (6-0, 7-0-1 overall).

Considering the Cougars have scored just two goals on Archbishop Murphy in school history, a Lakewood win was going to be contingent on a low score. And the Cougars came out playing conservative, willing to let the more risky runs go to keep position against a Wildcats team that had scored 38 goals in its first seven matches of 2010.

"This was something that they learned last season, where we can win if we play defense," said Lakewood coach Jeremiah Wohlgemuth. "There would be times last year where I wouldn't tell them that we were playing for a tie, but now they're starting to recognize how our style of play can lead to scoring while still being covered on defense."

Lakewood's defense-first policy helped them reach the state quarterfinals in 2009, and has them in sole possession of first place in the Cascade Conference this season.

Archbishop Murphy came out as advertised, and outshot the Cougars 13-5 in the match, which included two overtime periods. Head recorded 10 saves in the match to get her fifth shutout of the season. Her defense faulted just once, on a one-on-one situation early in the first half, but that was it.

"I thought we came out tight in the first 20 minutes and let them have control of play," said Wohlgemuth. "But after that, we settled down and started to get more possession."

Archbishop Murphy challenged Head and her defense for the whole 90 minutes, firing shots from as far away as 35 yards, but came away with nothing.

Once the Cougars got to the shootout, Wohlgemuth said there wasn't any nervousness in the huddle.

“We go into every PK knowing in our hearts that she’s going to save at least one and probably two,” said Wohlgemuth.

And she did just that, stopping a pair of ATM kicks, while Lakewood shooters Kiley Brown, Arianna Barrio and Taylor Studzinski converted on their shots.

Head complimented her teammates on their play, but noted the play of Burke, Brown, Anna Kuchler and Alisha Stott as being instrumental to the win.

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