Seven Lakes dominates Taylor, clinches spot in regional tournament

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 4/2/22

“It was just so great, it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” Morrison said. All the time and the effort working on that kick, it all showed in that moment and it feels so good to help my team advance.”

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Seven Lakes dominates Taylor, clinches spot in regional tournament

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Aidan Morrison stepped up to the ball, stared at the goal and knew he had it.

Despite having a free kick at an outrageously tight angle, an angle almost any defense would expect a cross from, Morrison knew exactly what he needed to do to get a goal.

The Seven Lakes sophomore took a deep breath and calmly lifted and curled the ball over the keeper and into the far top corner of the net

“I love free kicks, I love practicing free kicks, it’s one of my favorite things,” Morrison said. “I’ve practiced from that angle so much and I always practice the one where you dip it over the keeper into the far post. I knew I had the reps and I just had to get it right. I calmed myself and just hit it up and over.”

That showstopping goal put the Spartans up 2-0 and helped them secure a 3-0 win over Taylor in the regional quarterfinals on Friday at Rhodes Stadium.

It was the third meeting between the teams and the win avenged the Spartans only loss this season to Taylor earlier in the year.

“It was such a great feeling, I was ecstatic,” said senior goalkeeper Anthony Gonzalez. “I just love playing in front of our fans, it means so much that we’re able to do that. The atmosphere was amazing and everything about tonight was exactly as we pictured it.”

The Spartans were on the front foot from the beginning of the game but it took until the 28th minute for the breakthrough.

Javier Rivas provided that, as he grabbed ahold of a pass in the box and put a shot into the upper right hand corner, past the Taylor goalkeeper. Morrison then doubled the lead just five minutes later on his free kick.

“It was just so great, it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” Morrison said. All the time and the effort working on that kick, it all showed in that moment and it feels so good to help my team advance.”

The defense was a huge part of the win, shutting down a big, strong physical Taylor attack and earning a clean sheet.

“They stepped up and rose to the occasion tonight,” said Seven Lakes head coach Jimmy Krueger. “Each one of them battled the entire 80 minutes. It’s tough to shut down a team that can score in the methods they can score, but they did everything that was asked of them and more. They won the first ball and battled every time for the second one, which is huge.”

Seven Lakes didn’t let Taylor gain any momentum coming out of halftime either. Just two minutes after the start of the half, Kortay Koc took the ball and curled it into the far right corner to give the Spartans their final goal and secure there wouldn’t be a comeback, as Seven Lakes was able to fend off Taylor the rest of the way.

“Something that our coach stressed to us coming into this was we couldn’t let up against this team,” Gonzalez said. “They will take advantage of any scrapped ball in the box, any chance they get and we knew we couldn’t let up offensively or defensively. We work so hard and we really needed that. Coming off the loss we had to them last time, we knew it would be a tough 80 minutes, but it was well deserved.”

The win clinches a berth in the regional tournament for the fourth time and first time since 2017, and equals the furthest the Spartans has ever gone in school history.

The Spartans will play Deer Park at a time to be determined on Friday at Deer Park in the regional semifinals, with the winner moving on the regional finals and a chance at the state tournament.

“The best prep we have for these games is our district,” Krueger said. “Our district is outstanding and it gets us playoff ready more than most. We’re battle tested and to have a win like this against a caliber team like Taylor, hopefully it’s the extra boost we need heading into the tournament next weekend.”

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