The Western Indoor Soccer League today announces the two Most Valuable Players (MVP’s) of February 14th’s Championship Final.
Mark Lee scored twice for the Stars in their 6-2 win, and those goals were important for when they came and how they lifted Tacoma. Lee had been knocking on the goal mouth all match long, but finally he got the bounce he needed with just seconds left in the third quarter. He calmly finished the tap-in and the Stars had their first lead of the night at 2-1 going into the last period. Mark remained active, and he scored the 4th Tacoma goal midway through the 4th quarter when a power play sequence saw him shoot a dart across the Bellingham goal and to the left of a stunned Riley Liddle. The 4-1 advantage changed the match. Bellingham switched tactics and goalkeepers, going with a sixth attacker approach. Lee’s hustle created plenty of chances for his fellow Stars, and his skill turned two of his own chances into momentum-building goals for Tacoma.
Don’t let the 6-goal performance by the Stars fool you. The Hammers were in this one all the way until 26 seconds remained. A big reason was the spectacular goalkeeping of Riley Liddle. He shut out the Stars for 29 minutes and 54 seconds in the first half before Tacoma got a goal with just 6 seconds to go before the break. In all Liddle made 21 saves, some of them point blank reaction moves. Riley came up big on a 3rd quarter shootout by stopping veteran Joey Gjertsen’s one-on-one attempt at goal after a Hammers foul had been called. Tacoma’s first two goals came with mere seconds left in their respective quarters. Bellingham was only 8 seconds away from taking a 1-0 lead into the last period. As it turned out, the Hammers were still well into the match with a 2-1 deficit. Riley was pulled when it was 4-1 in favor of adding Brendan Quilici, who roamed as a sixth attacker with gloves. The Hammers got one back and it was 4-2 for a bit. Then with 26 seconds left Joey Gjertsen scored, and again with 6 seconds left, to make the final 6-2 in a match that was closer than that.