Just call them the Cardiac Kids. Park Tudor Middle School won the IISL Tournament Championship with three heart-stopping wins, finally defeating The Oaks on penalty kicks in the title game, played at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church.
Coach Miknus and Coach Ziegler combined rosters for the post-season co-ed tournament. Each of their teams had won two games during the season, meaning Park Tudor was only seeded fifth out of eight teams. It is likely the competition wasn’t expecting much from the Panthers. Mr. Bogan decided that since it is a co-ed tournament, the right thing to do is make sure five from each gender were on the field at all times, and that is what the coaches did. While the opposition used all or mostly boys in the three games, it was good to win the event doing it with this kind of equal balance.
In the opening match at Bethesda, Park Tudor created a lot of chances to score but had trouble finding the back of the net. The match was scoreless after 60 minutes and 10 minutes of overtime were almost complete, making penalty kicks to decide the match seem likely. But at the last minute, Becky Williams passed to Raiden Miyamoto, whose shot from 15 yards rippled the cords in the back of the net for a dramatic, winning goal, sending PT to the semifinal.
That match was played at St. Richard’s Episcopal, the tournament top seed. The field was short and narrow, but Park Tudor controlled much of the play in the first half. Andres de Dios made a nice turn in the penalty area and directed a shot past the St. Richard’s keeper and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The second half wasn’t smooth sailing, as St. Richard’s furiously tried to even the score. Tate Surtani made some good saves in net for the Panthers, but on two occasions the Dragons got the ball behind him. The first time Kai Komatsu made an emergency clearance and on the second, with just minutes remaining, Emma Miller cleared the ball off the goal line to save the day for the Panthers, preserving the 1-0 win.
That set up the final with The Oaks. The Oaks had beaten the PT boys soundly late in the regular season. They are a well-coached team with a number of skilled players. The match was hotly contested throughout, and both teams had some chances to score, but it was The Oaks who broke through with about 10 minutes remaining in the second half to grab a 1-0 lead.
But the Panthers kept fighting and creating chances. It was looking grim in the final minute of play when Annie Murphy sent a terrific cross into the middle for Gabbie Lindeman. Gabbie took a touch and finished from close range to tie the game and sent the Park Tudor bench into a wild celebration.
After 10 tense minutes of overtime, the match and the tournament championship were to be decided by kicks from the penalty spot. Gavin Murphy, Raiden Miyamoto, Colina Miroff and Gabbie Lindeman each converted their attempts, and when the final effort for The Oaks went wide, the Panthers were able to celebrate a championship win over a terrific opponent.
Tate Surtani played every minute in goal and only conceded once in 190 minutes of open play. Gavin Murphy, Peter Dubie and Colina Miroff were stalwarts in midfield, playing nearly every minute and helping the team control most of the play in all three matches. Alex Azar was instrumental in each win, stepping in late to shut down opposing attacks in an adapted defensive midfield role. Michael Ruiz and Emma Miller were rocks in central defense. Raiden Miyamoto, Kai Komatsu and Becky Williams led the way at outside back with solid play, with help from Kyndal Ross. Andres de Dios, Humza Raza, Oscar Stuart, Kaleb Strong-Jones, Gabbie Lindeman, Annie Murphy, Margaret McClain, Rebecca Liebross and Lucy Crossin all put in valuable minutes on offense for the Panthers over the three games.
Also part of the Park Tudor championship team throughout this season were:
– Girls: Lana Barham, Sophia Davison, Lily Freihofer, Celina Kaur, Catherine Kramer, Lauren Long, Parisa Mershon, Wellesley Mobasser , Piper Murphy, Zoe Paugh, Clara Skovronsky
– Boys: Ahmed Athar, Owen Camferdam, Beck Chandler, Justin Gershman, Brody Holle, Zayd Khan, Will Morris, Alex Parrish, Edgar Saratt and Kyle Xu.