BURIEN – Teddy Mitalas wasn’t about to break from his superstitious ways.
When the Kennedy Catholic boys soccer team went to an overtime shootout against Mount Si in Wednesday’s first-round Class 3A state match, the coach turned away until it was over.
Mitalas’ penalty-kick shooters came through, capped by Simon Thomas’ game-winner, and senior goalkeeper Leyton Thommasen had a big fourth-round save as ninth-ranked Kennedy Catholic sneaked past the Wildcats 2-1 at Highline Stadium.
Mitalas, the sixth-year Lancers coach and a longtime prep coach in the area, wasn’t about to change his team’s luck by watching.
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“I never watch penalty kicks (in a shootout),” Mitalas said after the Lancers ended a streak of three losses in the first round and won for the first time at state since 2008. “I didn’t see what happened. I face the other way. I’ve done it ever since I was coaching up at Shorecrest.
“I think if I don’t watch them, we win. It’s nerves. I think I’ll jinx it if I watch.”
Kennedy (14-1-5) advances to the quarterfinals and meets seventh-ranked Lakeside (13-2-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Highline Stadium.
Mount Si completed its season at 13-6-2.
Kennedy outscored the Wildcats 5-4 in the shootout, setting off a wild celebration started by Thomas, who hammered the game-winning kick into the upper right corner of the net.
“I’m No. 5 as the penalty-kick taker, so I know the pressure’s going to be on me,” said Thomas, who helped JFK go 15 for 15 in penalty kicks the last two seasons. “No matter what, save, no save, it’s all going to be on me.”
Colin Cossette picked up a loose ball and hammered it into the open left corner of the net to give the Lancers a 1-0 lead in the 42nd minute.
But less than three minutes later, Mount Si’s Connor Williams took advantage of a defensive miscue from Kennedy and tapped in an open-net goal to tie the score 1-1 in the 45th minute.