OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gabriele Zaccagnini notched his first hat trick of the season for the Oly Town Artesians, but the Olympic Force scored twice in the final three minutes to clinch a playoff spot with an 8-6 victory at The Pavilion at Evergreen on Saturday night. Alex Hernandez netted a hat trick of his own for the Force and Joe Sammartino scored both the equalizer and the eventual game winner in the fourth quarter.
Zaccagnini started the scoring early, putting the Artesians up 1-0 with just over a minute gone in the game, finishing a pass off the wall from Sebastian Lyons. He added his second goal late in the first quarter and Oly Town led 2-0 after the first 15 minutes.
But a plethora of early Artesians fouls gave Olympic a power play midway through the second quarter. Hernandez scored his first on a rocket into the top corner with the man advantage and then just 45 seconds later, he tied the game at 2-2 with an even strength goal.
The Artesians took a 3-2 lead at the four minute mark of the second quarter on Zaccagnini’s third goal. But Lionel Hernandez tied the game just 20 seconds later and Hernandez put the Force up 4-3 with his third goal of the game. Matt Stalnik scored a nifty goal, going up high to get his head on the ball and pop it over Force goalkeeper and former Artesians head coach Nate Salveson to knot the game up at 4-4 just before the end of the first half.
Olympic wasted no time taking back the lead with Colin Ralston scoring just eight seconds into the third quarter. The defenses clamped down and it took 13 minutes for another goal. Boatright tied the game at 5-5 and the two teams were even going into the fourth quarter.
The Artesians took the lead 6-5 after JT Meyer was awarded a penalty shootout and buried one past Salveson, but it was all Olympic after that. Sammartino scored the game tying goal with 8:58 left, the eventual game winner with 2:55 left, and then Colin Ralston scored his second goal to salt the game away with 1:43 left. The Force moved to 3-3-0 this season and clinched a playoff spot with two games left to play.
With the loss, the Artesians were eliminated from playoff contention and are just 1-6-0 this season with one league game left to play on February 3rd in Bellingham.
Oly Town FC takes a break from league play next week but will host Austin Kelley Awards Night presented by HDR Engineering on Saturday, January 27th. The Artesians will face off against the Oly Legends in a tribute match honoring the memory of Austin Kelley. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Riann Kelley scholarship fund and all attendees will receive an AK memorial sticker. Advanced tickets to this celebration of Austin and the Olympia soccer community are available at www.olytownfc.com/tickets.