The Montesano Bulldogs are off to their third straight quarterfinals after defeating Bellevue Christian 1-1 (4-1) in a penalty kick shootout at Jack Rottle Stadium on Wednesday.
“For us to be battling for another Final Four is pretty special,” said Montesano coach Fidel Sanchez. “The tradition continues.”
Both teams traded possessions through the majority of the first half, until the Vikings sophomore midfielder McKenna Hall put a perfectly placed shot into the upper left corner, beyond the reach of Montesano keep Riley TImmons to give BC a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute. It was the only goal TImmons would surrender on the day, despite facing 15 shots, five of which were on goal.
“She was making bucket saves with lasers coming at her,” said Sanchez. “I was shocked at the power shots Bellevue was able to get off, but Riley gives us confidence with her performance.”
The Vikings lead would last only minutes as senior midfielder Bethanie Henderson was again called on to make a critical set piece. Following a BC foul just outside the right corner of the penalty box in the 37th minute, Henderson stepped in for a free kick. WIth only a two player wall in front of her, and the left side of the goal tantalizingly open, Henderson sent an arcing shot to the upper left corner. Viking keeper Abbie Nienaber was able to get two hands on it, but the ball zipped though her gloves and into the net for a game tying goal.
“I was just focusing on not kicking it over and getting the right height on it,” said Henderson. “I didn’t think it was going in, because she caught it, but then fumbled it. I was really thankful for that.”
Neither team was able to crack the goal in the second half or in the two extra periods, leading to the penalty kick shootout to determine the winner. Henderson started the scoring with a line drive to the right of Nienaber, giving Montesano a 1-0 advantage. BC was unable to match the goal as Lucy Carrel’s shot bounced off the right post. Reigning Evergreen League MVP Mikayla Stanfield put a right footed shot past Nienaber to push the Bulldog lead to 2-0; an important margin as the Vikings second shooter, Hall put her shot past Timmons to half the lead at 2-1. The Bulldogs Addie Kirkser would push the margin back to two goals with a left footed shot past a diving Nienaber and when BC’s Lila Naseth missed the upper right corner, Montesano was poised to take the game on the foot of junior forward Adda Potts.
“You just have to stay calm. If you get nervous you don’t kick it like you have to,” said Potts of her long walk from midfield to the penalty spot for the game winning attempt. “You know that you’re doing it for your team and not for yourself and that it’s all going to be worth it.”
Rather than go wide to the corners, Potts elected to drive her shot over Nienaber who was unable to react in time, getting only her fingertips on the ball as is settled into the net to give the Bulldgos the 4-1 shootout victory.
“It’s really exciting and we’re just trying to keep the season going,” said Potts.
With the win, Montesano earns a trip to Sammamish High School to play University Prep on Friday afternoon, with the winner advancing to the Final Four at Mount Taholah Stadium on November 17th.