Sports

Soccer: Ochoa scores game-winning goal as Lakewood knocks off South Whidbey

Junior midfielder Brandon Ochoa fires a shot just before colliding with a South Whidbey defender. - Travis Sherer
Junior midfielder Brandon Ochoa fires a shot just before colliding with a South Whidbey defender.
— image credit: Travis Sherer

LAKEWOOD — The Cougars can once again say that they've beaten the first place team in the Cascade Conference.

In a 3-1 result April 13, Lakewood (4-6 overall, 4-4 Cascade) knocked off South Whidbey in dramatic fashion late in the match.

"We played that last 10 minutes harder than the rest of the game," said Lakewood manager Bryce Barker.

Junior midfielder Brandon Ochoa provided the match's deciding moment in the 74th minute. Receiving a pass to the center of the field, Ochoa controlled it out of the air and volleyed it from 35 yards out into the left side of the net.

"My last two years here I've had half court shots to win the game," Ochoa said. "I kept trying to shoot and get one in. I guess it's tradition."

Lakewood scored an insurance goal two minutes later when Mason Brisben's cross was deflected by a Falcon defender and left rolling around the right side of the area onto a running Kevin Marroquin.

Marroquin and Ochoa both scored their first goal of the season.

"I saw what I've seen everyday here," Barker said. "We play 30 to 40 minutes of great soccer and another 40 minutes of mediocre. The difference is that the level and speed of play has increased dramatically."

After starting out the season 0-4, the Cougars have gone 5-2 since March 30.

Standing for the Cougars was keeper Sam Johnston, who made a number of saves just before and just after halftime to keep the score tied at 1-1.

"Sam was great back there for us," Barker said. "His athleticism has just been so important for us."

Johnston, who joined the team late, had played less than a year of soccer in his life before stepping into the goal for Lakewood.

"We needed a keeper and we got our best wide receiver," said Ochoa. "He has great reflexes."

Barker praised Josue Rivera, who assisted the Cougars first goal of the game. His pass from 30 yards away was perfectly placed over Joseph Hawkins' shoulder inside the penalty box. Hawkins put it away in the 20th minute to give the Cougars an early 1-0 lead.

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