MOUNT Pleasant — As one of the few returning seniors on the Northwood Academy boys soccer team, Tyler Lares had a goal to end his prep career with back-to-back state titles.
Lares made it happen, scoring all three of his team’s goals in a 3-2 double-overtime victory over The King’s Academy in the SCISA Class AA state championship matchup.
Lares’ last goal, a penalty kick with six minutes remaining in the second overtime, proved to be the winner.
“We were up and down early in the season because we had so many guys in new roles, but we were determined about midseason to put it together and make a run,” Lares said. “This was it for me, this match today. I just wanted to go out and play as hard as I could. As a team, we left it all on the field today.”
Northwood coach David Harrison says Lares, a former baseball player who joined the soccer team a few years ago, saved his best for last.
“Without a doubt, this was the best he has ever played,” Harrison said. “He was all over the field, and his intensity was higher than I ever remember it being before. He was our leader today.”
Trailing twice during regulation, Northwood battled to tie its match with The King’s Academy, sending the showdown into a pair of overtime periods.
King’s sscored late in the first half when Evan Rabon took a feed from Lukas Goth and rifled a left-foot shot 25 yards into the upper left corner for a 1-0 lead.
Northwood tied the match nine minutes gone in the second period on Lares’ first score, but the tie was short-lived when Hunter Haynes scored his 50th goal of the season on a penalty kick three minutes later.
Northwood (18-5) battled back with Lares scoring again, this time off an assist from Dennis Gavrilov midway through the second period.
“We have been behind plenty of times but this team never gives up. We seem to play harder once we get behind,” said Lares.
Northwood freshman keeper Zach Ellison recorded three saves during the first overtime period, setting up Lares’ heroics in the second extra session.
“Zach has just been incredible for us all season,” said Harrison. “We became more of a defensive team this year. We had some good guys in the back. Zach was really good today against a very good offensive team. Those guys (King’s Academy) score a lot of goals.”