MONTESANO — Evenly matched and divided by one goal the first time they met, Montesano and Hoquiam needed a penalty-kick shootout to divide themselves this time on Thursday night.
Based on recent results in that format, this favored the Bulldogs and they capitalized.
Montesano used its experience in overtime and shootout matches to weather a few last chances by Hoquiam to secure a momentum-grabbing 1-1 (3-2) victory in Evergreen 1A boys soccer play at Rottle Field.
This is the second straight league win for the Bulldogs (3-3, 5-5) via the penalty-kick shootout and it snapped the Grizzlies’ six-match winning streak in the process. Hoquiam (4-2, 6-3) beat Monte, 1-0, at home in the first meeting.
“I told the guys to lay off the penalty kicks, because my heart really can’t take it; so, what do they do tonight … I think they’re trying to get rid of their coach,” Montesano head coach Mike Malpass joked.
“In the end, each team had some half-chances,” Malpass said. “There was nothing between us, like how I thought after the first meeting at their place. Tonight, two good teams got together and were very competitive, just like how the rest of the league has been. This is going to be a big boost for these guys.”
“What we’ve been doing in the winning streak, we’ve been winning barely in a few of them and tonight, it wasn’t enough,” HHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “Eventually, it had to come to an end. For us to go down one goal and to get it back and extend it to penalty kicks, that’s pretty good. I’m happy with the effort, but we just need to capitalize on our chances in front of the goal when we get them.”
In overtime, both teams had their chances to end the match, but couldn’t convert.
Monte’s Brandon Lovell had a good chance early in the second overtime period, but missed wide. Hoquiam’s Alex PugaDeLaRosa was fouled in the final seconds of the second overtime to earn a dangerous 21-yard free kick. Ivan Salguero took the free kick, but missed the shot way wide left.
Hoquiam would get the first chance in the shootout, but Sebastian Ortiz’s attempt against Monte goalkeeper Jeff Varness went high over the net. Lovell started for the Bulldogs, but his attempt hit the crossbar and stayed out.
The Grizzlies’ Osiel Rivera and the Bulldogs’ David Sawyer converted in the second series of kick. PugaDeLaRosa started the third series of kicks and his blistering right-footed shot was pushed away on a diving save by Varness.
Varness followed that save with a shootout conversion of his own for a 2-1 lead. Hoquiam’s Shane Murphy and Monte’s Nolan Walker each converted in the fourth series at 3-2, ushering in Hoquiam’s final chance.
Salguero had the chance for the Grizzlies, but his attempt hit the crossbar and stayed out to ignite a Bulldog celebration.
“That’s our goal, the team’s goal,” Malpass said of his team’s increased chances at the postseason. “The league is still wide open. We’re ready for every game and we’re looking forward to it. We don’t fear anybody and I think that’s the case for the rest of the league’s teams, too.”
“Anyone can beat anyone in this league,” Sanchez added. “Congrats to Montesano. They got the win and it was evenly matched. When we played them at home, it was evenly matched. Everyone we’ve played in league has been evenly matched. We respected the battle and did the best we could.”
Hoquiam created chances throughout the match via senior defender Brenner Carlstrom’s throw-ins, including four chances in close to Montesano’s goal in the first half. The ball pinballed around in traffic before it was cleared, giving the Bulldogs fits on defense.
Monte responded with runs down the wings for crosses and chances. One of those crosses turned into a penalty kick when a loose-ball foul inside the penalty area gave the Bulldogs a spot kick in the 20th minute.
Lovell made the penalty kick, going down the middle as HHS goalkeeper Tahj Malone dove to his right for a 1-0 lead.
Carlstrom did set up Hoquiam’s goal chance, this time by a free kick, in the 28th minute. The senior sent the ball from 35 yards out to the far left post, where Rivera was wide open and knocked the ball into the net on a volley shot for a 1-1 tie.
For the rest of the first half and the entire second half, chances were tough to come by. The defenses were stout and up to the challenges, while the offenses were bogged down in the midfield.
Lovell, Sawyer and Kylar Prante each had one chance on Malone, but couldn’t put their shots on frame. Salguero, PugaDeLaRosa and Carlstrom each created chances with throw-ins and crosses into the penalty area, only to have Monte’s defense punt them away.
On Tuesday, Montesano hits the road to take on Rochester and Hoquiam stays home to greet Tenino.