Marauders take down Wolves, advance to state | Boys soccer

Mariner wins its second shootout in the playoffs
By David Pan | May 14, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Mariner’s Anthony Garcia-Huerta jumps into the arms of goalkeeper Ebou Barrow after scoring the winning penalty kick in a shootout against Eastlake in a winner-to-state/loser-out Wes-King 4A District tournament game Saturday, May 11, at Eastlake High School. Barrow recorded two saves in the shootout.

Mariner’s Anthony Garcia-Huerta was prepared for his moment in the spotlight.

A week earlier, Garcia-Huerta scored the fifth and decisive goal in a shootout to lead the Marauders past district rival Kamiak and helped Mariner secure the league’s No. 2 seed to the Wes-King 4A District tournament.

The stakes were considerably higher in Saturday’s shootout against Eastlake when Garcia-Huerta stepped forward to take his shot. Three of the Marauders had already scored, while Mariner goalkeeper Ebou Barrow had blocked two of the Wolves’ four attempts to give his team a 3-2 edge with one round to go.

A goal and the Marauders would claim their first berth to the state tournament since 2016.

Garcia-Huerta came through again, scoring the winning penalty kick to help lead Mariner to a 4-3 victory over Eastlake in a winner-to-state/loser-out boys soccer game May 11 at Eastlake High School.

Prior to the shot, Garcia-Huerta said that he could hear his mother yelling his name in his head.

“I’m just thinking about my family,” the Mariner senior said. “It’s the reason I play soccer. … My family came here for an opportunity. It’s all about being my best and giving back to them.”

Garcia-Huerta said that the words of his club coach also echoed in his mind.

“He always talks about who wants it more,” Garcia-Huerta said. “I’ve been in situations like this with tournaments. I play year round. It’s not the first time or the last time we may be in this situation. So it’s all about just who wants it more and being the best you can be truly. That’s what I believe.”

Mariner coach Henry Busch had confidence in the five players he sent out and in goalkeeper Barrow.

“This is our second shootout of the year,” he said. “I had the same five shooters go. Same goalie. All these boys, they knew what had to be done. They’ve been here before. I thought that was a huge advantage for us.”

Mariner’s Edgar Guzman Jeffery Becera-Vicente and Antonio Latino all made their shots. Like he did against the Knights, Barrow knocked away the opponent’s first attempt in the shootout.

The Marauders missed their fourth penalty kick and Barrow responded with his second save on Eastlake’s fourth shot attempt, setting up Garcia-Huerta’s winning goal.

“He’s been so good for us all season,” Busch said of Barrow. “He’s having an all-time season. I’ve never seen him play so well.. I just have the utmost confidence in him. We practice PKs every single day and he’s really good at defending them and he came up with two huge saves. I knew he was going to save one after one of our guys missed. … I just knew it was going to happen.”

The Marauders (12-7-1) were coming off 8-1 losses to Mount Si and 3-0 to Issaquah. The Wolves had lost 4-0 to Jackson and 4-1 to Inglemoor.

Busch told his players they had to come out strong early on against Eastlake.

“I just stressed to the boys that we needed to score first and I told them that I thought whoever scored first in this game would go on to win.”

Two minutes into the game, Guzman gave Mariner a 1-0 lead off an assist by Latino. The Wolves tied the score in the 20th minute before Francisco Llamas’ header gave the Marauders a 2-1 lead they took into halftime. Teammate Jesus Robles crossed the ball in front of the goal right to Llamas.

Llamas later was tripped up by the Eastlake goalkeeper on a breakaway scoring attempt in the 73rd minute. Guzman scored on the ensuing penalty kick to give Mariner a seemingly comfortable 3-1 lead.

But the Wolves had other ideas and punched in a pair of goals in the final five minutes to force overtime for two teams clearly gassed in the 80-plus degree heat and sunshine.

“Our boys were frustrated and were tired,” Busch said. “That’s really a hard thing to come back from. It’s such a big momentum shift. Luckily, they were able to kind of push through it. They kept going and I think both teams were pretty exhausted by the time we got to overtime and we were able to keep them scoreless through that. I think we’re always pretty confident when we’re going into that shootout.”

Mariner faces Puyallup (16-2), the South Puget Sound League champion, in a first-round state tournament game at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 15, at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

“It feels very amazing because I’m very proud of my teammates’,” Garcia-Huerta said. “We worked hard (through) ups and downs this season. It’s just a big rollercoaster. But as I told them every day, just keep your head up, just be the best can be. … This is a team with so much talent. We all work hard. It’s all about being the best you can be.”

 

WELCOME RETURN: Senior captain Rogelio Martinez played in his first game since late March. Martinez broke his ankle during the March 29 game against Lake Stevens and his return to the Marauders was uncertain. “He’s one of our strongest players,” Mariner coach Henry Busch said. “Not only was it a morale boost for our boys to have him on the field again, but it was just incredible having him in the back and being able to rely on him. We didn’t know if he’d be back. It was just awesome to see him playing again.”

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