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Huskies secure another wild overtime win, defeat Ravens, 4-3
The boys varsity soccer team defeated the Olathe Northwest Ravens, 4-3, in the 6A state quarterfinals, Nov. 2. Junior Parker Million scored the game-winning goal with 2:03 left in the first overtime.
November 2, 2021
Winning back-to-back games in overtime on the way to a regional championship instilled a mindset in the Huskies to keep fighting and never give up, head coach Brian Pollack said.
“I think this is just a group that believes in each other and with two straight games coming from behind and going into overtime, they know that regardless of what happens, they are ready to battle,” Pollack said.
Unlike the past two games, the Huskies got off to an early lead. Goals by juniors Ricki Li and Sam McIntosh gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead less than ten minutes into the game.
Senior Andrew Mitchell said the two-goal advantage had both negative and positive impacts on the team.
“[The lead] was both good and bad. It was good to take a 2-0 lead, but anyone who watches soccer knows 2-0 is not a lead you want to have. It gave us comfort which isn’t great for the type of soccer we play,” Mitchell said.
The comfort that Mitchell mentioned began to ease away as Olathe Northwest scored one goal before halftime and added another off a penalty kick to tie the game at 2-2 with 29:55 remaining in the second half.
Pollack said the lead early in the game gave the Huskies a false sense of security.
“After those two goals honestly we didn’t really play our best soccer. We got down again and it was like, ‘oh ok we’ve got to start playing again.’ This game certainly had its ups and downs. The first 20 minutes were all us and then we kind of had to figure out how to crawl back in it,” Pollack said.
The Ravens added another goal with 16:15 remaining in the second half to take control of the lead, 3-2.
After falling behind, the Huskies switched up their formation, only playing three defenders in hopes to create more goal-scoring opportunities, junior Parker Million said.
“We switched formations a little bit to focus on our attack and get more players up the field to give us a better chance to score,” Million said.
As the clock began to dwindle down, the Ravens began to play more conservatively, bringing back more defenders. However, with less than four minutes remaining in the second half, Mitchell received a pass with a defender on his back, took a touch, cut the ball inside and delivered a shot that curved into the top-right corner of the goal to tie the game, 3-3.
Pollack said he was nervous at first when Mitchell made the decision to shoot the ball, but ultimately recognized it was the right choice.
“We’ve been working all season and especially the last couple weeks about taking the ball deep and when he cut it in I thought, ‘ugh he’s cutting it in,’ and then he just fired a bullet. It was an absolute strike,” Pollack said.
Million said it was a crazy moment and he was in awe of Mitchell’s goal.
“It was nuts. I was in shock and I didn’t really see it coming,” Million said.
The game remained tied at three goals apiece through the end of regulation and went into overtime.
Despite tying the game with his goal, Mitchell said he knew it wasn’t enough for the Huskies to win, but he was confident as the game went into overtime.
“I was just telling myself, ‘we need one more’ because you can’t win on a tie,” Mitchell said. “We knew once we got to overtime we had it in the bag and In overtime we just dominated. They didn’t touch the ball hardly,” Mitchell said.
In overtime, the Huskies controlled possession and kept the ball on the Ravens’ half of the field for a majority of the time. With 2:03 remaining in overtime, junior Parker Million dribbled down the right sideline before firing a shot past the goalkeeper’s outstretched hands into the top-left corner to score the game-winning goal.
“It felt amazing. To send us to the state semifinal with that goal is a great feeling,” Million said.
Pollack said he was impressed with the Huskies play in overtime and he knew they were bound to score one more goal.
“It was amazing. We were firing on all cylinders in overtime and I just felt like something was coming. As soon as he hit it I realized it was dangerous and it found the back of the net,” Pollack said.
With the win, the Huskies advanced to the 6A state semifinal game where they will take on an undefeated Washburn Rural team out of Topeka. Mitchell said the run the Huskies have made this season is like no other.
“Oh man, it’s crazy. Starting as a 13 seed and having a 5-10-1 record to bouncing back and being in the state semifinal is huge. We had been building for the playoffs all season and we peaked at the right time,” Mitchell said.
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