A Halloween night regular-season finalè at Olympic Stadium was an absolute treat for visiting Montesano and a bad trick for host Hoquiam.
Four different players scored for the Bulldogs, including two of them in the match’s first 11 minutes, to secure a district play-in berth with a 4-0 victory over the Grizzlies in Evergreen 1A girls soccer play on Thursday.
Montesano will open postseason play with a pigtail game against Seton Catholic at 1 p.m. today at Aberdeen’s Stewart Field. The loss ended Hoquiam’s season.
The Bulldogs (12-4) controlled the opening kick-off and took advantage early. Taylor Birdsall scored from 15 yards out in the second minute to open scoring and the Bulldogs kept firing.
Shots by Birdsall and Madi Besaw sailed just over the crossbar in the fourth and seventh-minute respectively. Then, Tianna Schurr scored on a penalty kick in the 11th minute, putting Montesano up 2-0.
A tussle in front of the Hoquiam goal was capped by a foul call against the Grizzlies, resulting in the spot-kick for the Bulldogs.
“I thought (the girls) did really good keeping possession,” Montesano head coach Jeff Lenherr said. “The first 15 minutes, when we got our first couple of goals, they generated a lot of opportunities. They sat back a little bit toward the end of the first half, but then they brought it the entire second half. I thought Hoquiam competed really hard, especially in the first half.”
Around the 18th minute, Hoquiam (10-6) started to even out possession. The Grizzlies penetrated Montesano’s defense several times late in the first half, but were unable to punch it in. During that stretch, Ellie Quercia and Kayla Hilliard recorded Hoquiam’s only two shots on goal of the game.
The fact that Hoquiam only managed two shots on goal is not a good indication of how many scoring opportunities it had in the season-ending loss. The Grizzlies got close to the goal many times, but could not seem to get the shots off.
“In the first half, we came out kind of flat, but toward the end of the first half we really started picking it up,” Hoquiam head coach Corri Schmid said. “Second half we came out strong, and we were just unfortunate and unlucky. It was just one of those days that we just didn’t have luck on our side.”
Montesano capped the scoring in the final 20 minutes of the match. LeeAnn Rhoden scored a goal off of an Alyx Miller corner kick in the 59th minute and Makenzi Howard capped the scoring in the 73rd minute by booting it in from about 15 yards out.
Lenherr cited Rayna Ashlock, Hannah Quinn, Jennifer Johnson and Brook Whitsell for excellent defensive play.
Schmid cited a player at each level for excellent all-around play: Quercia, a sophomore forward; Hilliard, a senior midfielder and Jensina Alvarenga, the senior goalkeeper.