A Battle Between Friends
Twice that 1968 season the Huskies had beaten SU by two goals. John Goldingay had scored in each. Beating the Chieftains a third time would not be easy, especially given the stakes.
Seattle U was playing on four days' rest after an easy win over Seattle Pacific. Washington would be taking the field for the fourth time in eight days, all away.
It was a damp Monday night at Lower Woodland, the city's historical home for soccer. Over-use and weather contributed to a well-worn pitch with little, if any, grass remaining.
While the Huskies featured their fair share of international players, pretty much everyone on both teams was familiar with one another from Sunday games in the state league or past encounters as youth. The coaches were friends as well. Since arriving in the mid-50s, Dublin-born Mike Ryan (UW) and Liverpool native Hugh McArdle (SU) were fixtures in the state leagues for years. The soccer community was small and there were few secrets.
McArdle chose to focus his tactics on keeping Goldingay off the scoresheet. "I remember it vividly," says Goldingay. "That was the first and only time I was personally double-teamed."
Mike Jones was the U-Dub keeper. He remembers the conditions. "It was cold and that pitch was never anything but dirt. But at least it wasn't pouring down rain."
Unlike the first two meetings, Washington was unable to create a breakthrough. Despite Joe Zavaglia's hobbled by a bum ankle, the Chieftains were holding their own and regulation ended scoreless.
Let's Play Two. Or Three, or Four Overtimes.
In that era, games tied after 90 minutes were recorded as draws. No overtime. Officially, that's how the score appears in both teams' records. But Ryan and McArdle had assured Kearney of an outright winner, and their interpretation of the rules allowed for a gentlemen's agreement to play on.
"I don't know if there were rules for it, but the decision was made to finish the game with a golden goal," explains Jones. "The first goal would win it."
Minutes into the first overtime period, it appeared Seattle U was all but boarding the plane for San Francisco. The Chieftains were awarded a penalty kick. It was approaching 10 o'clock when Jones took his place in goal. Zavaglia was the usual penalty taker. However, due to his injury, McArdle opted for a change.
"Mike Carney was a very good, very elegant player," says Jones. "He took the penalty and I was fortunate enough to save it. It was a low kick, and I pushed it around the post. But my hand continued on and went into the old wooden goal post, (and) it wasn't going anywhere. Joe (Zavaglia) is still jumping up and down after all these years because they wouldn't let him take it."
And on they played.
"There was no shootout," confirms Zavaglia. "You kept playing until somebody scored."
Goldingay swears it went past the original two 15-minute periods, and published reports indicate the game went beyond 11 p.m.
"I'm probably exaggerating with time, but there were at least three overtimes," maintains Goldingay. "It felt like it was close to midnight. Talk about being just wasted physically."
Into the Night
Finally, either through guile or craft, Goldingay was sprung free for goal. Joe Siebu somehow played him through for a breakaway from midfield.
"(Siebu) punched it forward with his fist (and) the referee didn't call it," contends Zavaglia.
Goldingay's memory discounts any controversy. "I just got a breakaway and scored a goal, and that's why I remember it: The extremes of the hour and the game. "
By the time they gathered their gear and drove back to their assorted residences, the Huskies had about five hours to shower, pack and grab a few winks. They would reassemble early the next morning at Tubby Graves, the athletic department headquarters.
Mike Jones, who had literally saved the UW season on the penalty stop, was in no shape to play. As it turned out, he sustained broken bones in his hand.
"I knew I'd hurt it, and I ended up going to University Hospital that night until 3 in the morning," Jones reveals. "They taped it up, and I wanted go the next day. The next morning we got on the bus in front of Tubby Graves and headed to the airport and headed to San Francisco."
Next: Be careful what you wish for. A behemoth awaits Washington the following day.
Frank MacDonald is a Seattle soccer journalist and historian. This story first appeared on his website and has been republished here with his permission.