RENO — Since losing in overtime in the state championship game last year, Coronado has set its sights on a return trip andmore successful ending.
And for the past four years, Cougar players have hounded coach Dustin Barton to show them his tattoos.
On Saturday, it was mission accomplished for the Cougars on both fronts.
Sophomore goalie Ashton Murga made several saves during a frantic final five minutes, as the Cougars won the first statesoccer title in school history, defeating Wooster 2-1 in the Class 4A boys final at North Valleys.
John Lynam scored both goals for the Cougars (26-2-3), with his second, on a free kick in the 70th minute, giving Coronadoa 2-0 lead.
But two minutes later, Alex Munoz-Lopez kept the Colts (11-4-3) alive when his shot got past Bradley Bolduc and Murga tomake the score 2-1. Wooster got the ball back in front of the goal for several shots in the final minutes, including one thatsailed just a foot wide of the net with about five seconds left.
“I was kind of lucky,” Murga said. “It was kind of sketchy.”
Wooster turned up the volume on its attack after Lynam staked Coronado to a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute.
In the 60th minute, Murga stopped a point blank shot despite a collision with a Wooster attacker, who was given a yellowcard.
“He kicked me in the head,” said Murga, who played the second half in goal after Bolduc played the first.
Bolduc made his share of acrobatic saves in the first half, including a diving stop of a breakaway in the final minute of the firsthalf.
To that point, the Cougars had been unable to free Lynam, the state’s most prolific scorer.
“They were double-teaming John on top, actually three guys on him, so we pushed him forward and created a little pocket forother guys to run through and it worked out perfectly,” Barton said.
Lynam’s first goal came after an unsuccessful corner kick was knocked out of bounds. On the throw in, Lynam curled to theleft just outside the penalty box, and his shot rocketed into the net before Wooster goalie Kevin Polanco had time to react.
Lynam’s second goal came after a Wooster foul gave him a free kick from about 20 yards from the left side.
“I’ve been waiting four years for this,” Lynam said. “Last year we couldn’t make it happen, unfortunately, but we’ve beenwaiting a whole year to this day.”
The Cougars also have been waiting four years to see Barton’s tattoos, and their cheer when he removed his shirt was almostas loud as when they were presented with the championship trophy.
“For four years they knew I had tattoos, but I never showed them to anybody, and they said if we win state, you’re going totake your shirt off and show them to everybody,” Barton said.
And for the first time, the Cougars can set aside last year’s heartbreak and celebrate.
“It takes a minute to soak it in, but it’s all we’ve been working for,” Barton said. “It’s great for these kids.”