ARLINGTON — With tough losses behind them, Marysville to Cascade and Arlington to Monroe, M-P and Arlington came into their March 31 game looking for a win.
While Marysville had no trouble keeping Arlington on defense, they struggled a lot more to convert one of their attempts into a goal.
“It was pretty exciting to win in overtime, you know, because it was the next game after Cascade, where we had lost in overtime,” said M-P coach Geoff Kittle. “Now it wasn’t exciting to be in that situation because we should have finished that game earlier.”
Arlington goalkeeper Keith Bayer endured shot after shot on goal, successfully holding off the Tomahawks with at least 12 saves and countless more stops against the scoring threats by the Marysville offense.
Finally in overtime the Tomahawks found the goal that so long eluded them, winning 1-0.
M-P had plenty of opportunities to avoid the overtime period — some were averted by Bayer saves, others by a foward’s miscalculation and one or two by what seemed divine intervention.
About four minutes into the second half, a hit by Arlington forward Schyler Furrer to M-P midfielder Brady Ballew earned Furrer a red card and the Tomahawks a penalty kick by senior Nick Burdett.
Diving toward the ball, Bayer deflected the shot that was aimed low and toward the middle of the net. But unable to grab the ball, it rolled back toward Burdett, who kicked it high for the rebound.
It bounced off of the top crossbar.
“I thought for sure he had the rebound,” Bayer remarked to a defensive teammate not long after as Marysville prepared to kick in from the corner.
The kick awarded after senior midfielder Mario Rodriguez was yellow carded proved equally fruitless to the Tomahawks. Kittle also credited extremely muddy conditions in the midfield for hindering the offense’s ability to pass and set up drives.
“We just can’t find the goal,” commented an incredulous M-P assistant coach Gary Riozzi on the sideline.
But after 84 minutes, the Tomahawks finally did find the goal off the foot of Ballew, rendering the game over.
“It was another one of those nights where we had trouble finishing. We’ve been finishing under pressure,” Kittle said, adding that the Tomahawks’ win against Oak Harbor April 2 was a come-from-behind effort.
He added that preconceived notions about teams like Arlington and Oak Harbor that are better than their records reflect impacted the team when they weren’t able to score against them like they thought they should.
“I try to explain to the guys that it’s going to be a competitive game. But there is (also) what they mentally project those games to be, and they put pressure on themselves, ‘We should be blowing them out, when we aren’t,’” Kittle added. But, he said he tells his players, “If we can win ugly, we can win anytime.”
The Tomahawks tested that theory in a rematch against Snohomish April 7 after The Globe went to press.