MONTESANO — A 12-day break between matches produced some rust on Montesano, but a chance to shake it off against Ocosta on Tuesday night.
A combination of the Wildcat defense and the Bulldogs’ readjustment to the game’s speed produced a 1-0 halftime lead. In the second half, Monte got rolling and sped away from Ocosta, 4-0, in Evergreen 1A girls soccer play at Rottle Field.
Sophomore forward Taylor Birdsall registered a hat trick with one goal in the first half and two in the second for Montesano (10-3). Sophomore Makenzi Howard finished the scoring with a goal late in the match.
“There definitely was some rust,” Montesano head coach Jeff Lenherr said. “Ocosta played well; they hustled to the ball a lot. It took a little while to get their feet. We had a lot of chances in the first half, but got a little mentally frustrated. In the second half, they started working the ball in and getting the shots they were used to getting.”
“In the first half, (the girls) played excellent defense,” Ocosta head coach Mike King said.
The Wildcats used just 12 players in the match.
“We basically played with our starting 11 for the whole match,” King said. “They got worn out and played a lot of defense. We limited them to just eight shots and Monte usually gets 20 a half against us. We were clearing the ball out and didn’t get the transition in the midfield to get the ball up on offense.”
Birdsall started the proceedings by redirecting a corner kick past Ocosta goalkeeper Lexie Schmeling for a 1-0 lead in the third minute. From there, the Bulldogs tried to press their advantage against the Wildcats (3-11), but the visitors repelled the attacks.
Ocosta’s defense blocked several shot attempts and kept Montesano’s main scorers far away from the goal. It didn’t get much of a chance to develop a counter-attack, but the score remained 1-0 through halftime.
The Bulldogs were lucky to be up by one goal. The Widcats’ Mary Davis had two shots that nearly tied the match. The second of the two attempts came in the final seconds, a great through-ball pass from Alyssa Phillips released Davis past Monte’s defense. Her breakaway shot went just wide of the low left post.
“We’re slow to react in the midfield and a lot of our traps weren’t done well,” King said. “We just have to keep on working on our traps and keep improving.”
“The girls weren’t happy with the first half and got themselves going in the second half,” Lenherr added. “After they got going, the game got slower for them. When you are away for a while, the game speeds up and is really fast. I think they were seeing the game better in the second half.”
Birdsall kicked off the second half with another goal off a corner kick, this one delivered by Alyx Miller. Miller delivered a dangerous ball in front of the Wildcat goal and Birdsall popped the goal in traffic in the 50th minute.
The hat trick was secured in the 59th minute when Rayna Ashlock’s throw-in bounced right to the goal. Birdsall scored the goal among a large scrum of players for a 3-0 lead.
Madi Besaw and Tianna Schurr each had stinging shots on goal, but Schmeling smothered them easily. The only rebound Schmeling couldn’t get control of was off a 20-yard rocket shot by Cheyanne Bartlett. The ball bounced right into the path of Howard, who deposited the ball into the net in the 70th minute.
Birdsall and Besaw were named players of the game by Montesano.
Montesano took on Elma in the junior varsity match, with the Eagles winning, 3-1.
On Thursday, Montesano travels to Tenino. Next Tuesday, Ocosta returns to action against Tenino.