The Tornados spun circles around Timberline High School at home last Thursday, April 22, for senior night, coming up with a 5-2 win over the Blazers.
Yelm nailed two goals before halftime and netted two more in the second half before the Blazers rallied with two of their own.
But just when the Blazers’ comeback rally threatened to gain more momentum, Yelm senior Francisco “Paco” Lucatero stole their thunder with a late, game-defining goal.
“I think the highlight of the game was our (late) goal by Paco Lucatero,” said Jay Dorhauer, head coach for Yelm. “It was just an amazing effort on his part. He beat three guys and then just hit a shot from about 25 yards in the upper corner. It was amazing.”
Being senior night, Lucatero’s heroic effort was a “fitting end” for the athlete, Dorhauer said. In total, Lucatero scored two of the night’s five goals, with junior Israel Medez, junior Carlos Enriquez and senior Adrian Forde-Nihipali each scoring one.
The Tornados’ offense hasn’t always been as strong this season as Thursday night’s outing proved to be, Dorhauer said.
“I think the problem is they get so excited in front of the net that they’re focused on hitting as hard as possible, trying to put a hole in the net,” he said. “They just need to slow down and place the ball a little bit more on the inside of the foot and find corners. And (Thursday) night they did that.”
Dorhauer said the team’s offensive plays did well with getting the ball up to strikers, allowing them to hold it forward and dish it to the net, making a season’s worth of puzzle pieces fall together for the second time this year.
“Last night, we finished,” Dorhauer said. “They did everything we’ve had them doing. It all worked really nicely.”
The midfield players fought hard to bring the ball forward, facilitating a seamless transition from defense to offense, Dorhauer said.
“Our two wings have come a long way this season,” he said. “Earlier in the year, they were getting caught too far in the middle, and they’re really learning how to play that position, staying wide and being dangerous.”
The defenders, Dorhauer said, “probably had their best game of the year.”
Overall, the Tornados have been playing good soccer this season, Dorhauer said, but with a record of 2-7, the team has fallen a bit short of achieving their true potential. But last Thursday, fulfilling that potential proved to be something the team has had within them all along.
“I think they’ve played really well,” he said. “I think our thing all year, is they haven’t been able to finish, and (Thursday) night, we finished our chances and they’ve seen what’s possible for them.”