This article was written by guest writer sophomore Joseph Richards.
Going into the game, Heritage had a state ranking of second compared to Kings Academy’s third, making the matchup heated before the players even stepped on the field that night.
In the opening minutes of the game, King’s Academy seemed to be the more adept team. They controlled the first few plays of possession, resulting in them scoring the first goal within five minutes to grab 0-1. About halfway through the quarter in the ninth minute, Heritage finally got their turn at offense. Their attacking plays were initially being blocked by Kings’ goalkeeper, but Heritage’s non-stop efforts eventually ended in their favor.
Heritage’s first goal was a result of junior Ethan Heim, who scored a goal off a run while doing a 360 degree turn (1-1). This first goal seemed to give Heritage momentum, leading to two goals, one by senior Zack Bitar and the other by senior Ryan Robbins, giving Heritage an the lead (3-1). After the next face off, King’s Academy was able to get the upper hand, and after a long turn of possession from them, they were able to clap back in an effort to try and equalize (3-2). After being able to win the face off and take advantage of Heritage’s defensive errors in the dying minutes of the quarter, King’s Academy scored again, making the score tied at 3-3. Though junior Jake Marek was able to make two back-to-back saves to keep his team in the quarter, the Lions stole away at two more in the last few seconds, bringing the score to 3-5.
As the second quarter began, Heritage bounced back by getting the initial possession. A turnover from Heritage however led to the score tipping over in Kings favor again, making the score 3-6. After another face off, Heim (#21) capitalized on a loose ball and carried it all the way through the Lion’s defense by himself before swinging another into the back of the net; he and his teammates started a comeback, still trailing 4-6.
In the third quarter, Heritage came back with vengeance. Senior Kadin Schillo scored two overhead bangers to make the score even at 6-6. What seemed to be a blowout by the Lions now became a close volatile game.
Heim’s performance was far from over, as he was able to capitalize off another opportunity for Heritage in King’s final defensive third, bringing the lead to 7-6. However, the Lions used this as a wakeup call and responded with a goal barely a minute later to equalize yet again.
Throughout the fourth quarter, goalkeeper Marek made a total of four game-changing saves that kept him and the patriots in the game. He was able to even start a counter attack from his goal line, passing the ball to his defenders, who eventually threw it to Schillo. After Schillo converted on the goal, King’s Academy fired back yet again, scoring two more equalizers to draw the game. This left for a tense overtime period, with both teams tied up again at 8-8.
The overtime period came to a close when Heim gained possession in the middle of the field and scored another goal to end the game. “We did start off a little slow, but around halftime, we got our stuff together and pulled through for the win,” midfielder sophomore Robert Coolidge said. “Hopefully we can use this win to push us forward for all our upcoming games.”