MONTESANO — A tale of two halves was determined in a sudden-death overtime on Thursday night.
Visiting Hoquiam took control of the first half, but only held a 1-0 lead. Host Montesano reversed the momentum in the second half to tie the match and send it into overtime.
Three minutes into the first overtime period, Montesano sophomore forward Taylor Birdsall poked the ball away from Hoquiam goaltender Jensina Alvarenga in a scramble to score the match-winning goal, 2-1, in Evergreen 1A girls soccer action at Rottle Field.
Hoquiam’s Ellie Quercia opened the scoring. Montesano’s Makenzi Howard tied the match in the second half.
“This was a good win for the girls, hopefully that helps their confidence,” Montesano head coach Jeff Lenherr said. “In the second half, the girls did a better job of pressuring the ball. When you do that, you get rid of the long ball. We talked about that and kept them from sending the ball out.”
“First half, we came out strong; second half, we were strong, but Monte was stronger,” HHS head coach Corri Schmid said. “We knew coming in this would be a rough and tumble game. Monte is a very good team and they played like it. We fought to the end.”
In the overtime, Hoquiam (6-3) had the first chance on goal, thanks to freshman Judy Renteria. Renteria stole the opening kickoff by Montesano (6-3) and unleashed a solo run down the right side. With control of the ball, she unleashed a 15-yard shot that just deflected off the outside of the right post for a goal kick.
On the ensuing goal kick, Montesano strung together several passes before the ball was loose 12 yards from the Hoquiam goal. With Alvarenga in the fray, the goalkeeper couldn’t get her hands on the ball before Birdsall fought through for a poked shot into an open net to end the match.
“We had opportunities we didn’t take care of (in the second half),” Lenherr added. “We just need to pull the trigger on those shots. The build-up was good, but you have to shoot. They’re getting there. I was happy to see them compete. Once you compete, everything follows.”
“Monte brought it and we showed a few gaps, which they took full advantage of,” Schmid said. “They’re a good team. We just weren’t able to pick it up in the second half and I hope we can recover from this. Definitely, we missed opportunities and all we can do is learn from that.”
Opportunities to score more goals were present for both sides, especially in each team’s dominant half. Hoquiam had full control of the first 40 minutes, beginning with Quercia’s goal in the fourth minute.
Anna Salazar fed Quercia with a long through ball that got behind a Monte defender, giving the junior forward open field to run onto the Bulldog goal. Goalkeeper Kasie Kloempken was off the goal line and Quercia’s 25-yard shot got past her for a 1-0 lead.
Quercia and Renteria each had scoring chances saved by Kloempken in the first half, as the Grizzlies kept pressure on Montesano’s defense. Hoquiam’s defense forced the Bulldogs to shoot from a distance, allowing Alvarenga to smother shots.
The second half saw Montesano control possession and physically keep Hoquiam on the defensive. The pace of the game was physical on both sides of the ball, which favored the Bulldogs. One Monte player, LeeAnn Rhoden, received a yellow card for a dangerous slide tackle, the only card issued on the night.
In what would be a precursor to the game-winner, a loose ball in front of the Hoquiam goal was not cleared by the Grizzlies. Howard found a foot onto the ball and poked it into the net for a 1-1 tie in the 48th minute.
Alvarenga smothered three corner kicks by Montesano and a few other Bulldog attempts, while Kloempken was virtually untested in the second half.
Lenherr cited Birdsall and Jennifer Johnson as the team-voted players of the game.
In the junior varsity match, Montesano won, 6-0. Both teams played with nine players.
Today, Montesano hosts Napavine, while Hoquiam travels to Ocosta.