STATE BOUND

Seven Lakes headed for first ever state tournament after come from behind extra time win over Cy-Creek.

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 4/9/22

“It was such a relief,” Rivas said. “My legs were gone, it was just absolute relief. But it’s an incredible feeling, especially going to new places we have never been before, and I’m just super excited for this group to be able to experience state.”

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STATE BOUND

Seven Lakes headed for first ever state tournament after come from behind extra time win over Cy-Creek.

Posted

Seven Lakes never loses confidence.

Already in these playoffs, the Spartans have been put in a second half deficit and Seven Lakes, but the Spartans came behind to advance

That was against a pesky Cy-Ridge team, that tried to give the Spartans everything they could handle.

Seven Lakes was put in the same position in Saturday’s Class 6A Region III final, falling behind 2-1 to Cy-Creek in the second half, and facing the daunting task of coming back or having their season come to an end.

But the Spartans never had a doubt they would come back, and come back they did, beating the Cougars 3-2 in extra time.

“We’ve been doing it all year,” said senior midfielder Javier Rivas. “The first time we did it was at Cinco during district and it gave us some huge points. Since then we’ve done it over and over. We’re confident as a team, we keep our heads up and we make sure to keep going forward. We know what we can achieve as a group.”

The win clinched the programs first ever berth in the state tournament, continuing a historic run where the Spartans appeared in their first regional final.

“It’s difficult to put into words, as a collective group, they bought in early on and they came together with one goal. They wanted to do something we haven’t done yet and take the Region III Title. There’s not a collective group of guys who deserve it more, we went deep into the bench today and with the quick turnaround. It’s very difficult to play at this level two days in a row. It was survival of the fittest and I can’t be more proud of them.”

Seven Lakes struck first in the game, as Rivas found himself on the end of a rebound of a Noa Stasic shot that was deflected by the goalkeeper into Rivas’ waiting feet and he tucked it home.

“We always talk about being ready for that second shot,” Rivas said. “I know Noah Stasic has a power shot and he forced the keeper to put it back in play. I just made sure to be at the right place at the right time and luckily I finished it.”

The Spartans continued to be the better team heading into halftime, but things changed in the second half.

Cy-Creek came out and on its first attack of the half, drew a free kick and Erik Morales scored to tie the game just one minute into the half. Cy-Creek then came back with another just three minutes later as the Cougars scored with Noah Arriola heading home a free kick.

But trailing didn’t daunt the Spartans.

“This team has showed so much heart,” said senior defender Ty Koc. “Twice these playoffs we’ve come from behind to win 3-2. I can’t even describe or put it in to words what this is like because it feels so surreal. It just shows how much we’ve been working this entire season and it’s an amazing feeling.”

Seven Lakes worked themselves back into the game, and tied things when substitute winger Daniel Ejerenwa got on the end of a header off a free kick and put it past the Cy-Creek goal keeper.

The game went into extra time and the Spartans continued to come close, and with just four minutes remaining in the game before it went to penalties, Rivas found the answer again. As he weaved his way through traffic and shooting a looping shot from the top of the box that found its way past the goalkeeper and gave Seven Lakes its first ever state tournament berth.

“It was such a relief,” Rivas said. “My legs were gone, it was just absolute relief. But it’s an incredible feeling, especially going to new places we have never been before, and I’m just super excited for this group to be able to experience state.”

The Spartans are celebrating, but also ready for their trip to Georgetown, where they will face Plano at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Class 6A State Semifinals.

“The biggest thing is they just need to enjoy the ride and enjoy the experience,” Krueger said. “It’s our first time there so this is something to celebrate. So enjoy it, and then see if you can cause some damage. I think that this team has what it takes to represent Region III pretty well.”

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