For the third consecutive game, the Interlake Saints boys soccer team faced the pressure of loser-out playoff game in the postseason.
For the third game in a row, the Interlake boys soccer team delivered with a triumphant victory.
Interlake clinched a berth in the Class 3A state tournament courtesy of a 3-1 win against the O’Dea Fighting Irish on May 12 at Interbay Stadium in Seattle.
Interlake head coach Dan Peterson was thrilled to see his team clinch a berth in the state tournament after a one-year hiatus in 2017. The Saints won the Class 3A state championship two years ago during the 2016 season.
“You can see how excited they are. It is nice to see such a great group of guys get to the state tournament. That was their goal. They did it and I could not be happier for a group of people,” Peterson said.
O’Dea found themselves in a precarious position after midfielder Charlie Hayward received a red card (results in an ejection) in the 34th minute of play. O’Dea was forced to play the final 46 minutes of the game with just 10 players on the field.
Interlake junior midfielder Nainoa Loschky scored the first goal of the game in the 35th minute, giving Interlake a 1-0 lead. Just before halftime, O’Dea junior Wyatt Granlund found the back of the net in the 39th minute, tying the game at 1-1.
Interlake took a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute on one of the most spectacular plays of the season. Interlake midfielder James Sullivan carried the ball up the left side of the field before delivering a perfect pass across the middle. Saints junior forward Cameron Rao capitalized on Sullivan’s pass, delivering a header goal into the back of the net.
Rao credited his teammates for the memorable sequence.
“I had the easiest part of the job. My team got the ball to the left side of the field and got it to James (Sullivan). James had the perfect cross. I was just in the right place at the right time,” Rao said of scoring the go-ahead goal.
Interlake extended its lead to 3-1 in the 67th minute after a lengthy throw in from senior Will Meadows paid dividends. Meadows’ throw in deflected off of one of O’Dea’s defenders and into the goal.
Interlake will face the Gig Harbor Tides in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs at 7 p.m. on May 15 at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy.