FORT WORTH — For a program in the regional quarterfinals for the first time with only two seniors on the roster, Lake Dallas came out of the gates with no signs of trepidation Friday night at Justin Northwest.
The Falcons (20-2-3) tormented the Fort Worth Arlington Heights Yellowjackets (20-4-1) from the start and created ample chances, but none reached the back of the net.
Eventually Arlington Heights settled in and scored first from a set piece and the two went back and forth from there. The Yellowjackets led 2-1 and appeared comfortable, then sophomore Anthony Patti came through for Lake Dallas just as he did in the team’s opening round win against Saginaw when he scored the game winner.
Patti scored two impressive goals in the span of three minutes to put the Falcons up 3-2 with 15:26 left to play. Lake Dallas held off the Yellowjackets in the final stretch for the 3-2 comeback win and advanced to the regional semifinals.
“It’s just the motivation from the crowd, the energy of the team, you can never give up,” Patti said. “No matter how much time is on the clock I’m just going to keep going.”
In the first half, the Falcons had 12 shots to Arlington Heights’ five including four shots on goal. The game was right where Lake Dallas coach Brandon Martin wanted it and it set the tone early, even though the Falcons never broke through in the first half.
“That’s just the way we’ve been playing with creating opportunities, we just weren’t able to capitalize on them in the first half,” Martin said. “After they got that goal, we went to halftime and I told our guys to calm down and stick to what we were doing because we were getting opportunities.”
Before Patti took over the contest, one of those two seniors tied the game at 1-1 less than eight minutes into the second half. Carlos Zamora finished a nice low shot to the bottom left of the goal from the top of the box and gave the team the lift they needed to take back control of the contest.
The emotions of the team and the fans was clearly evident as many were in tears after the win. Next up for Lake Dallas is the regional tournament next weekend, where the Falcons will be two wins away from a state title birth. For a team that has not lost in nearly three months, and is determined to claw back, Lake Dallas is ready for the challenge ahead.
“I’m ecstatic,” Martin said. “These guys are looking forward to keep playing and continue their senior year. We don’t want it to end yet, so we’ll see what happens next weekend.”