KENNEWICK -- Southridge goalkeeper James Fort may be listed as a freshman on the Suns' boys soccer roster, but his teammates no longer think of him as one.
Especially when he plays as big as he did during Southridge's 2-1 shootout victory over Lake Washington on Tuesday in the first round of the 3A state tournament at Lampson Stadium.
Fort stopped Justin Manao's fourth-round shot, allowing teammate Adolfo Garcia to drive home the game-winning spot kick in the fifth round, sending the Suns into the 3A quarterfinals.
Southridge (17-2) will face CBBN rival Eastmont (15-5) on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Suns are 3-0 against the Wildcats this season.
"I remember the crowd screaming. I kept saying to myself, 'I'm not going to let this last one in,' " Fort said.
His coaches were saying the same thing.
"I told my assistant coach Riley (Dodson) that he was going to get the stop," Southridge coach Chip Elfering said. "You could see in his eyes that he was going to get this one."
The win was the Suns ninth straight, but they fell behind once again in an all-too-familiar scene for Elfering.
Merlin Granados scored off an assist from Corneliu Capusan in the 54th minute to give Lake Washington a 1-0 lead. But the Suns have been in that rather uncomfortable spot before. Fortunately for them, they know how to respond.
Just two minutes later, senior defender Bill Landefeld launched a massive throw in from 30 yards away into the Purple Kangaroos' penalty box, where Garcia headed it past goalie Andres Verduzco for the equalizer.
"I was ecstatic. Mostly because I had to make up for their goal, because it was my guy who scored," Garcia said. "It meant a lot because I got the game-tying goal and then the game-winning PK."
Scoring--1, LW, Merlin Granados (Corneliu Capusan), 54:00; 2, S, Adolfo Garcia (Bill Landefeld), 56:00. Shootout goals (Southridge 4-2)--S, Chandler Mertens, Keaton Hale, Landefeld, A.Garcia. Shots--LW 8, S 22. Saves--LW, Andres Verduzco 11. S, James Fort 6.