Prep boys soccer: Lynnwood upsets Cascade to advance in District 1 soccer tournament

Members of the Lynnwood Royals’ boys soccer team are all smiles after their 1-0 upset victory over the Cascade Bruins on Tuesday at Everett’s Memorial Stadium. (Photos by Doug Petrowski)

Start with a tenacious defensive effort, add the crafty anticipation and the strong right hand of their goalkeeper and get an assist from the bright late-day sunshine: It all added up to how the Lynnwood Royals were able to pull off the biggest upset of this year’s local prep boys soccer postseason.

The Royals, seeded no. 8 in the District 1 3A Boys Soccer Tournament, surprised the no. 4-seeded Cascade Bruins 1-0 on Tuesday in a tourney loser-out match played at Everett’s Memorial Stadium.

With the victory, Lynnwood will now play for a spot in the 3A state tournament when they take on the no.3 district tourney seed Mount Vernon Bulldogs on Saturday, May 11.

The Royals’ Henry Torres (left), with teammate Jonathan Andrade in tow, celebrates his goal in the 14th minute of the Lynnwood-Cascade match played Tuesday at Everett’s Memorial Stadium.

The Royals earned Tuesday’s win over Cascade by getting an early goal from sophomore Henry Torres and then holding off the hard-charging Bruins for the remainder of the hard-fought match.

Torres’ goal in the 14th minute was made possible by a free kick taken by teammate Alexis Villasenor from near midfield. The junior launched the ball 50 yards downfield and high into the air toward a crowded 6-yard box, where Bruins’ goalkeeper Nolan Ackley struggled with bodies all around him and the evening sun shining directly into his face. Ackley was unable to corral the ball, which ended up near the far post where Torres was waiting to tap it into the Cascade goal.

Lynnwood’s Kai Ahumada (center) and Cascade’s Jordan Marquez (right) tussle for the ball while the Bruins’ Alex Sayavong watches during the Royals-Bruins matchup.

Lynnwood Coach Pablo Mummey said the objective with Villasenor’s free kick was to get the ball into a path that would force Ackley to have to deal with the blinding sunshine.

“As soon as that ball got up high, the keeper had to look up into the sun,” Mummey said. “At that moment the sun was in his eyes.”

Despite being outshot in the game 13-4, Lynnwood made that wily early goal hold up with a strong effort by its defense. Junior goalkeeper Hunter Licata made five saves in the match and smothered numerous other balls that entered his 18-yard box from Bruin offensive pushes. But Licata’s biggest effort came in the game’s final two minutes.

Lynnwood goalkeeper Hunter Licata saves a Cascade PK attempt in the 78th minute to preserve the Royals’ 1-0 win over the Bruins.

Licata stopped a penalty kick by Cascade’s Carter Gay with a diving effort to his right. It was a PK that — if it had been successful — would have tied the game and most likely sent the contest into overtime.

After the match, Licata explained that he had read the look in Gay’s eyes prior to taking the PK and felt assured as to where the senior would be kicking the ball. “I saw his eyes going left and I knew he was scared, so I just went right and committed 100%” Licata said. “I knew it was going there.”

Licata’s strong dive low and to his right made it possible for him to fully extend and direct the ball beyond the left goalpost and safely over the endline.

Royals’ goalkeeper Hunter Licata (left) grabs the ball just prior to being run into by the Bruins’ Carter Gay.

While Licata’s save was key to the Lynnwood victory, the junior wanted to praise his defensive players playing directly in front of him. “I love them,” he said. “I believe in them to the fullest. We have a great defense.”

The Lynnwood defensive backline blocked a number of Cascade shots in the game, including a blast by the Bruins’ Gona Markos in the 73rd minute that was destined for a wide open goal but was instead stopped by the leg of Lynnwood’s Josh Manuel-Flores.

Lynnwood’s Kai O’Brien (center, #15) looks to control the ball in front of a big collection of Royals and Bruins during the Lynnwood-Cascade contest.
The Royals’ Amaru Sialer (center) and the Bruins’ Jonathan Tabarez race to a loose ball.
Lynnwood’s Alexis Villasenor leans into a free kick.
The Royals’ Josh Manuel-Flores moves the ball upfield during the Lynnwood-Cascade showdown Tuesday.

The Royals will next face Mount Vernon on Saturday at Shoreline Stadium; first kick is slated for 1 p.m. The winner of that district tourney third-place game will punch their ticket to the WIAA State 3A Boys Soccer Tournament that begins May 14; the loser of Saturday’s Lynnwood-Mount Vernon district’s contest will be done for the year.

After what Mummey called “an up-and-down season,” he thinks the team is peaking now in postseason tournament play. “I see the desire in those young men and I like that,” Mummey said. “We’re starting to click at the right time.”

Licata thinks he and his Royals’ teammates can keep their late 2024 season surge alive. “We have plenty more. We can keep going all the way,” he said.

To view the entire District 1 3A Boys Soccer Tournament bracket, click

Prep Boys Soccer: Lynnwood vs. Cascade, May 7 (District 1 3A Boys Soccer Tournament loser-out match)

Lynnwood 1 0 1

Cascade 0 0 0

Goal scorer

– Henry Torres (Lynnwood), assisted by Alexis Villasenor, in the 14th minute


– Lynnwood, 4

– Cascade, 13


– Hunter Licata (Lynnwood), 5

– Nolan Ackley (Cascade), 1

– Ethan Frausto (Cascade), 0

Corner kicks:

– Lynnwood, 1

– Cascade, 2

Yellow cards:

– Carter Gay (Cascade) in the 50th minute

– Kai O’Brien (Lynnwood) in the 66th minute

– Omar Mohamed (Lynnwood) in the 69th minute

Records: Lynnwood 2-1 in District 1 3A Boys Soccer Tournament, 9-7-3 overall; Cascade 0-2 in District 1 3A Boys Soccer Tournament, 10-6-2 overall

Lynnwood next match: versus Mount Vernon; Saturday, May 11; 1 p.m. at Shoreline Stadium (DIstrict 1 3A Boys Soccer Tournament third place winner-to-state loser-out match)

— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski

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