Lindbergh High School took down Renton High School in the KingCo 2A league tournament, advancing to face the Sammamish Totems.
The Eagles ended their two game losing streak and avenged their last loss against Renton back on Oct. 22. It will be the third time Lindbergh has played Sammamish this season — on Sept. 13, Lindbergh fell to the Totems, 3-1. Their next meeting was three weeks later in the season on Oct. 4, Lindbergh beat Sammamish, 1-0.
How did Lindbergh get the chance to play on Saturday? It seemed bleak for the Eagles early on, when they were down 2-0. Before many fans were even in their seats, Renton’s senior forward Michelle Arjona-Reyes scored in the first minute of the game.
Later in the first half, Renton would score again. This time it was from a junior on the Redhawks. Sammy Mojica went down the field in a blur and put Renton on top 2-0 in the 17th minute.
Lindbergh was able to tack a goal on the scoreboard late in the first half, on an Oniee Gradin-Core right-footed volley in the 37th minute. A Redhawk hand-ball inside the 18-yard box gave Lindbergh a chance to tie, and Rae’ayn Gilbert took the shot for the Eagles. She was ultimately denied by Renton goalkeeper Zitlaly Valeriano-Reyes, who had an exceptional game. Going into halftime, the score was Renton clinging to a 1-goal lead, 2-1.
In the second half, Lindbergh put constant pressure on the backline of the Redhawks. Eventually, the Eagles cracked the code, and Gradin-Core again found the back of the net in the 53rd minute, tying the game 2-2.
In the final three minutes of regular time, Valeriano-Reyes made two incredible saves that gave her team an opportunity to win, or at least survive for the time being. On the other side, junior Tracey To for Lindbergh played central defender for the Eagles. After allowing two early goals, she became the vocal and physical leader on that backline for coach David Detloff: “She demands the best and she gets it.”
Neither side scored in the two golden goal overtime periods, so the game went to overtime. But coach Detloff thought his team had the edge: “We had the momentum, I felt, going into that last bit. And I thought it was really ours to lose.”
Each team is guaranteed five shooters in a shootout, and whoever scores more wins. The first six shooters for both teams were perfect, so it was 3-3 going into the fourth shooter. Renton made their fourth shot, and Lindbergh’s leading scorer Rae’Ayn Gilbert missed her shot. So now the score was 4-3, Renton. Lindbergh had to save this next shot to stay alive.
Sophomore Hailey Yount stepped up and saved the next shot, giving her team a chance. Tracey To tied it 4-4 with her shot. The next Redhawk was stopped by Yount again. It then all came down to the girl who had two goals in the afternoon, Oniee Gradin-Core. Gradin-Core cashed it in and advanced Lindbergh to the finals.
“Tonight will be fun, but tomorrow it is back to work,” Deltoff said.
The following Saturday, Lindbergh dropped the championship game to Sammamish, 6-1. They locked up the eighth seed and take on Fife at their place Nov. 1.