Lynden sophomore Keylie Hershey just couldn’t stomach any more bad luck.
So the multi-sport athlete, hit hard by injuries her first two years, alertly positioned herself to take advantage of her greatest thrill and good fortune in soccer.
Hershey scored a golden goal on a rebound off her stomach in the first overtime as Lynden claimed a 3-2 win over Sehome in a winner-to-state elimination game in the Class 2A Bi-District Tournament on Thursday night at Sedro-Woolley.
“I saw Ali VanZanten’s shot hit the bar (as Hershey moved into position for a rebound), and the ball hit me in the tummy, and I scored,” Hershey said.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Lynden’s Ellsie Saldivar scored on a short power shot in the final seconds of regulation to make the winning goal possible 1:29 into overtime. This came 14 minutes after Lynden’s first goal, a power shot by Sierra Smith.
Great effort in goal
Lynden freshman Emily Czesak turned in a phenomenal effort in goal, chalking up at least 13 saves while refusing to let goals in the 23rd and 28th minutes by Mia Niel discourage her. Hannah Moore’s pretty cross pass made the second goal possible.
The Mariners (12-5-3), 4-0 winners over the Lions (7-10-3) in their league game, did not get their first shot until the 34th minute. From that point on, Lynden outshot Sehome 11-6.
What accounted for the difference for Lynden? The Lions lost ther first six games but “really played over the last four or five games,” Lions coach Carlos Melendez said. “There’s no question we struggled early.”
“Amanda Mata got a big gash in her leg and had to leave for the hospital,” Melendez said. “That was a big distraction, but at the half we talked about how much Amanda would want us (to focus on winning).”
Hershey steps in
“I’m (usually) a goalie, but I’ve had injuries,” said Hershey, grateful she got to play at all but praising Czesak for the freshman’s guts in goal.
“Keylie is a excellent athlete, so I thought I would start her in the second half,” Melendez said.
Smith and Saldivar were so thrilled to be going to state that they couldn’t tell Melendez if they had assists on their dramatic comeback goals.