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Lakewood Cougars outshoot Wildcats
LAKEWOOD — No it's not an April Fools' Day trick.
Lakewood boys soccer announced it should not be taken lightly with a 2-1, shootout win over first place Archbishop Murphy April 1.
"When I phone this in, the newspapers are going to think it's an April Fools' joke," said manager Bryce Barker.
Instead, the Cougars (2-4 overall, 2-2 Cascade Conference) knocked off the Wildcats (3-2, 3-1), one of the better clubs in the state, using organized pressuring of ball on both ends, and finished with one more penalty kick.
Two extra frames yielded no result and Archbishop Murphy blinked first, on it's fifth penalty kick — which sailed left — leaving it up to captain Jeremy Rose. Rose made Lakewood, which hadn't practiced penalty kicks this season, a perfect 5-for-5 on day.
"That was my first-ever penalty kick," Rose said. "It was intense. I didn't even know I was going to be kicking until after I met with their (ATM's) captain."
Lakewood matched Archbishop Murphy blow-for-blow during regulation. Despite trailing 1-0 at halftime, the Cougars rallied behind the aggressive play of senior midfielder Mason Brisben, who scored the equalizer in the 57th minute. The Wildcats had two opportunities to clear Lakewood's cross that landed near the top of the penalty area. When a defender finally got a hold of it Brisben was mid-stride to volley the attempt right into the left side of the goal.
"The guy just kind of hit it at me," Brisben said. "I was going to take it away from him and just hope it went in."
This win signals a complete reversal of play for the Cougars this season under Barker, who is in his first year as manager.
"They're finally buying into the system and what we've been saying where, if you trust us and your teammates, we're going to be able to come back and be in the game," he said.
Lakewood benefitted from the solid play of freshman midfielder Evan Thorpe, who was called up from junior varsity a week ago.
"He's just anchored the middle of the field for us and helped maintain possession," he said. "He may not show up on the stat sheet, but he's making all the runs and just always in the right place."
Scoring for Archbishop Murphy was Erik Schmidt in the first half.
Also scoring on penalty kicks were Aaron Yarnell, Josue Rivera, Joseph Hawkins and Brandon Ochoa.