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Roosevelt vs Ballard - Playoff Recap

The Roosevelt Rough Riders pull out a dramatic win in triple overtime against longtime rival school the Ballard Beavers in an 11-10 nail biter at Ballard High School Wednesday night.

With a higher playoff seeding opportunity on the line, Roosevelt and Ballard put on a game to remember on a beautiful sunny day at Ballard field. After a slow first quarter with only one goal to speak of in the Rider’s favor, the game quickly picked up in the second with seven goals between both teams leaving Roosevelt on top 5-3.

Ballard was sporting a lower score by this point compared to their last match-up a month ago where they handily defeated the Rough Riders 12-6. One significant difference about this game was the change in the goalie position for Roosevelt after senior goalie Nicholas Swedin stepped out of the cage due to optic nerve damage early on in this season. Senior midfielder Henry Geary took on this responsibility for his team and with 326 recorded minutes he boasts an admirable 0.578 save percentage coming into this game.

Geary has proved to be a tough goalie to get past saving 5-of-8 shots on goal in the first half. Even with impressive numbers like this, it still wasn’t easy to stop Ballard’s star midfielder captain Gus Simpson who was going on a tare in the second half. Simpson has been the bloodline of this offense with 35 overall goals this season and putting up six in this game alone.

Simpson was the only one to score any goals for his team in the third quarter bringing in three with the help of two assists from sophomore midfielder Jack Berard. With Roosevelt only able to secure two goals, the Beavers were starting to own the second half as they slowly were closing the gap. Ballard opened the final quarter with another pair of goals to quickly take an 8-7 lead, their first since the start of the game. These Rough Riders were riding strong as they strung together three goals in response to bring their lead back to two.

A two-goal lead is nice in the final quarter but with six minutes left in the game, it was too much time for a Beaver team unwilling to lay down. The Riders were able to hold them off for three more minutes before Ballard put two more goals together within 60 seconds of each other. It only seemed fitting that a game this good would go into overtime, but who could have guessed it would go into triple.

Desperation and hope were in the eyes of players, coaches and fans alike as they watched their beloved teams battle it out for eight long minutes before watching them head into their third overtime period. Somewhere in third OT it was looking like Ballard had a clear edge off a clear to Simpson who had a fast break towards a Roosevelt goal with an unset defense.

With Roosevelt fans watching in pure agony over what looked to be inevitably another Simpson goal for a win, Geary stood tall in front of shear adversity in the face of a player that already had six goals on him. Simpson fires a cannon shot on a corner he has been proficient hitting all game only to watch Geary deflect it out to everyone’s surprise. Story by Michael Thornbloom.

Beaver’s were surrounding the cage at this point when one player snagged the rebound for another shot, but Geary was on another level mentally with adrenaline pumping through him as he blocked yet another shot. Another rebound was grabbed by this desperate Beaver team eager to close this game out at home and making another shot only to be blocked for the third time. The only difference now was Geary had the rock and he was finally in control as he hastily clears it across the field to his team.

Senior attackman John Pattinson gets ahold of the rock and finds his moment in front of the cage to capitalize on Geary’s amazing saves for his team. With a maneuver in front of the crease he slams one past the Beaver’s goalie to close out a huge game giving his team the higher seed in this year’s playoff run and a win that will likely be remembered forever.

If Geary had not made those saves, this game would have a completely different story. “He’s an awesome midfielder, had to come in at goal and those three saves were probably the most incredible three saves I’ve seen in a row on a triple overtime and I stick by that.” Roosevelt head coach Drew Wright said about Geary.

“Our motto is team first, and he took a huge one for the team when Nicky [Swedin] went out this year with some optic nerve damage in his eyes.” Geary didn’t get the chance to sit at goalie in their last match against each other a month ago and that wasn’t the only change this team went through leading up to this game.

“They have just been working really hard all year.” Wright continues. “They made a lot of the adjustments we’ve asked them to but on top we know that Don [Preston] and Ballard are short a few guys and we were trying to take advantage of that as much as possible.”

Roosevelt gets the chance to host the Mt. Spokane Wildcats (8-4) on Saturday at Eckstein Middle School for the official first round of the 3A playoffs. The Ballard Beavers are not completely knocked out of the running just yet as they fall to a lower seeded bracket and head to Mercer Island High School to face the Islanders (13-6) on Saturday.

Story by Michael Thornbloom.