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Cougars roll over Hawks
Lakewood humbles Archbishop Murphy on the way to state
An early Eric Hawks goal got Lakewood off to a fast start May 10 against Archbishop Murphy and the Cougars easily desposed of the Wildcats 5-1 behind some stellar individual performances.
After Hawks got Lakewood on the board, thanks to an assist from Kelvin Mansfield, the floodgates opened up for Lakewoods scoring chances. In minute 14, Lucas Antonnascio took a 35 yard free kick and connected with Andrew Escalante inside the six yard box. Escalante put the ball on net, but an alert Wildcat goalie scooped it up.
In the 18th minute, a long Hawks throw in front of the Wildcat net found the head of Evander Ochoa who narrowly missed a header over the bar.
Lakewood kept up the pressure as a furious scrum in front of the net nearly culminated in the second goal of the game, just 25 minutes in. From an Evander Ochoa cross, a bouncing ball could not be controlled by either side just a few yards in front of the Archbishop Murphy goal.
Bodies flew in all different directions as players desperately tried to either clear the ball or force it into the net. Kevin Hooks found himself in the middle of the melee and took two solid swipes at the ball. However, both of his efforts were thwarted by sliding defenders. Evander Ochoa nearly cleaned up the mess and scored, but he too was frustrated by the desperate Wildcat defense. Finally, Ochoa knocked the ball disappointingly wide of the net for a goal kick to Murphy.
Kevin Hooks did not waste much time dwelling on the play, as within one minute he took a long pass from Quentin Baldwin in defense, strong-armed several Wildcat defenders from his position on the left side, and charged toward the Wildcat goal. The Murphy keeper slid past and nearly through Hooks, as Hooks maintained his balance and the ball skipped free ahead of him, mere yards away from an empty net. Two hopeless challenges from Wildcat defenders, trailing Hooks from behind, could not prevent the left wing from finishing easily into the back of the net and exhulting with his teammates over the secure 2-0 lead.
It was at that point that Archbishop Murphy began to fall apart mentally. Their disappointed goalkeeper began to yell at his fullbacks and the fullbacks took out their frustration on the midfield. While that was going on, Lakewood was busy controlling the game. The first half wound down as several dangerous free kicks did not result in goals for Lakewood, but did result in more Archbishop Murphy frustration.
As the second half began, Lakewood continued the onslaught. A quick goal only two minutes in totally deflated the visitors. Brian Star chipped a ball over the backline of defense that a rushing Evander Ochoa finished to give Lakewood a 3-0 lead. One minute later, Andrew Escalante dealt the death blow to the Wildcats, hustling after a bouncing ball that should have been easily controlled by Murphys goalie. The keeper sprawled out and appeared to catch the ball securely as Escalante did a near sommersault to avoid running into him. But just when the play looked dead, the ball squirted out directly to Escalantes feet and the surprised forward scored an opportunistic goal.
As the game wore on, the Wildcats cries of disappointment grew louder. After exhausting their efforts to blame each other, they began to blame the referee who had absolutely zero impact on the outcome of the game. If anything, the officials did an impressive job calling the game tight and keeping the players safe in a high pressure environment. The only real complaint came as they allowed play to continue for seven minutes of injury time in a game that had been decided much earlier.
In the very last minute, Gerardo Resendiz scored from 30 yards out on a deflected shot to finish up Lakewoods scoring and push Lakewood into the winner-to-state game with Sultan to take place Saturday May 12.
After the game, senior captain Kelvin Mansfield commented on the teams performance.
Everything went right today. We needed to step up and we did.
Coach Vaughn Vandelac felt comfortable going into the Saturday matchup with Sultan.
Its a team that always seems to be around. We split with them this year, winning at home and losing at their place in a shoot-out. We have a lot of history playing them in these type situations.