Despite Wright’s best effort, Ridgefield falls on PKs

Spudders look to regroup in 1A third-place match




SUMNER — Ridgefield goalkeeper Tyson Wright lay on the ground motionless. Through no fault of his own, his masterpiece suddenly had a smear.

With 10 minutes remaining in the 1A state semifinal soccer match, Overlake midfielder Jesse Klug rifled a 35-yard free kick into the upper right corner of the goal to tie the score. An opportunity — once golden — had melted.

Overlake of Renton went on to win in penalty kicks, outshooting the Spudders 4-3 after failing to break the 1-1 tie in overtime.

And even if Friday hadn’t been Ridgefield’s first loss of the season, it’s hard to believe it wouldn’t have been the toughest.

“I haven’t really felt like this,” said Wright, who had 13 saves. “This isn’t something we’re used to.”

Added succinct teammate Miller Grening: “It sucks.”

There is little refuting that Overlake was the more dominant team at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium. Given the amount of time the Owls spent on Ridgefield’s side of the field, they could have been cited for loitering.

But with 14 minutes left in the first half, Grening launched a 35-yard free kick of his own that slipped by the Overlake goalkeeper to put the Spudders up 1-0.

It was the kind of shot the senior had been converting for three years, and while his teammates mobbed him euphorically, few were surprised by the goal.

What was surprising, however, was that a 35-yard free kick was the best look Ridgefield (17-1) had at the net all match.

Overlake, meanwhile, was firing on Wright as though it were an 80-minute penalty kick session.

Yet time and time again, Wright would deny the attempts — diving, charging, or popping the ball over the crossbar to maintain his team’s lead.

Finally, Klug snuck one by him, connecting on a shot of carnival-booth difficulty. There was little Wright could do, and his teammates and coaches knew it.

“Tyson was amazing, he was definitely our man of the match,” Ridgefield coach Jason Staley said. “He had a handful of incredible saves. It was the best game he’s played all year.”

Wright saved two of the six shots he faced during penalty kicks — including the first one. But Ridgefield, which shot second, missed kicks No. 2, 3 and 6.

Coming into the match, the Spudders hadn’t missed a penalty kick all year.

So what happened this time?

“Fatigue,” Staley said. “We hadn’t faced a team with that kind of quickness or strength all season.”

Ridgefield will play Royal for third place at 10 a.m. Saturday in Sumner.