Defensive-minded Hoquiam holds off possession-driven Montesano, 2-1

Hoquiam brought a defensive game plan into this Evergreen 1A match against rival Montesano and executed it to near-perfection. The Bulldogs came in and used their possession game to pressure the host Grizzlies, but didn’t take advantage of their chances on Tuesday night.

The Grizzlies used the counter-attacks to build their chances, getting what turned into the game-winner with less than 30 seconds left in the first half to knock off the Bulldogs, 2-1, at Olympic Stadium.

Chandra Munger and Barbara Meamber scored for Hoquiam (6-2, 6-2). Ally McCaw scored in the last minute of the match for Montesano (3-5, 4-4).

“To be honest, we kind of planned it, knowing how strong Montesano is as a team,” HHS head coach Corri Schmid said. “Tonight is the first match that we actually played as a team. I can’t cite one player, because everyone played together and that’s what counts. In the second half, they did (pin us). Defensively, we played a lot of defense, but we planned on it.”

“Consistency, it is finding the right chance to score,” Montesano head coach Jeff Lenherr added. “They got too impatient trying to score and we need to be a little bit more patient in the final third. We’re young and we need to do a better job. The chances are there.”

Hoquiam came into this match with two key players out — one by injury (sweeper Lindsay Leonard) and one by illness (Kayla Hilliard). This prompted a lineup change, sending midfielder/forward Ellie Quercia into the back of the defense as stopper, and a defensive mindset overall.

It didn’t, however, stop the Grizzlies from counter-attacks against the Bulldogs, who controlled possession, the midfield and the pace of the contest.

In the 16th minute, Hoquiam got on the scoreboard when midfielder Vanessa Doyle sent a crossing pass through the Montesano penalty box. The ball skipped past three Bulldog defenders and one Grizzly forward before it found Munger wide open on the far left side. The sophomore slid the ball home past a scrambling Monte goalkeeper Kacie Kloempken for the marker.

Montesano kept possession and pressure on Hoquiam’s defense, led by Quercia at stopper, with Emily Gwinn, Kayci Miles, Jessica Harold and Theresa Chapin putting in duty to hold off the Bulldogs. The visitors outshot the hosts, 17-9, with a 7-4 edge on shots on-goal. All but one shot by Hoquiam came in the first half.

Play remained a back-and-forth affair until the final minute of the first half. Hoquiam got one last rush in when Meamber got the ball clear on the right side and, with no one open, took a shot at goal.

The ball smashed the bottom portion of the crossbar, hitting the ground with enough spin to send it into the net for a momentum-grabbing 2-0 lead at halftime.

The second half was all Montesano’s. The Bulldogs stepped up their pace of play, pinned the Grizzlies deep inside their defensive zone and worked the ball around for chances. Goalkeeper Jensina Alvarenga stopped two runs with dives to the ground to smother the ball, while Hoquiam’s defense bent, but didn’t break until the final minute.

On a through ball down the middle of the field, McCaw got a one-on-one chance with Alvarenga and slipped the ball into the left side of the net for a 2-1 score with 45 seconds left in the match.

The Bulldogs tried one last flurry to get a game-tying marker, but time ran out.

In the junior varsity match, Montesano won, 3-2.

On Thursday, Montesano will host Ocosta at Aberdeen’s Stewart Field, while Hoquiam stays home to take on Forks.