ZZ Top’s “Gimme All Your Lovin’” blared from the speakers at Eastlake Stadium. The game was now over. Fans were heading home. The Eastlake team was celebrating.
Woodinville coach Pete Crowley hoisted up his young daughter Makenna. His heavily tattooed arm cradled her as she buried her face in his chest. He looked into the distance with a sorrowful stare.
“We squeezed the juice so to speak and leveraged everything we had out of the team tonight,” he said. “I don’t think the better team came out on top. I think the ball bounced one or two times [Eastlake’s] way and that was the difference maker. As far as effort and the way the boys executed, I think the real winners are the Falcons tonight.”
Such were the raw emotions following Woodinville’s 7-6 loss to Eastlake last Wednesday night. This was the 4A semifinal game. With the win, Eastlake advanced to the State Championship game against Skyline. For Woodinville, the season ended.
“I think a lot of people thought that Eastlake was a heavy favorite and we were definitely the underdog,” Woodinville’s Andrew Ng said. “But I think we showed that we’re not an underdog and we’re here to compete for years to come for state championships. We established a legacy in the Washington lacrosse community.”
This game was evenly matched throughout. At halftime the score was 2-2. At the end of the third quarter, it was 5-5. One of Woodinville’s goals was a 50-yarder by Musa Husseini, which sent the Falcon sideline into hysterical joy.
The Falcons led 6-5 with 3:46 left to play. But Eastlake converted two goals in the closing minutes to secure the victory.
After the game was over, the Falcon players gathered in the corner of the field without the coaches. Senior captain Andrew Ng addressed his teammates. After he finished, the players all embraced in an emotional show of camaraderie.
“Everyone was quiet and in a down mood,” Ng said. “But I just wanted to remind them that I have seen a lot of Woodinville varsity lacrosse games, and this was by far the best team that Woodinville lacrosse has had. In previous years I was sad [at season’s end]. But this year it has clicked for me that this family and brotherhood doesn’t just end here. When I graduate I know that I’ll have all these guys to come back to. It doesn’t just end here, it’s going to last for a long time after this.”
Ng was asked what gave Eastlake the edge on this night.
“The ball just bounced their way,” Ng said. “We really dominated both ends of the field. The entire season we have talked about playing a full forty eight minutes, a whole game. It’s hard to do for any team in any sport. For the first time today I saw us play a full forty eight minutes, start-to-finish.”
Coach Crowley cited his senior class of Jake Baillie, Andrew Ng, Kaden Fitzpatrick, Abdullah “Abs” Bhurghi, Zachary Barnett, Hunter Graham, Ethan Jarvis, Thomas Pollon, Reid Rohrich and Quinn Schreyer.
“I’m still choking back some tears right now,” Crowley said. “They were the first class of seventh graders that I coached when I came to Woodinville six years ago. Us high school coaches have a great opportunity here with the sport being young, where we get to go down and coach youth in the off season. I have created a bond with them over six years. So it’s really emotional to see those leaders move on and walk forward in life. They’re going to do amazing things in life because they are amazing human beings.”
Note: Senior captain Andrew Ng was selected to the US Lacrosse All-American Team from Washington State by the WHSBLA. He was also an Academic All-American. He is the first Falcon to receive these honors.