Montesano got off to a hot start and held on for a 2-1 season-opening victory over Royal on Saturday at Jack Rottle Field in Montesano.
The Bulldogs (1-0 overall) got the season started on the right foot by scoring two goals in the first 15 minutes of the game.
With just 2:22 elapsed on the clock in the first half, Monte’s Cristofer Tobar scored on a free kick for the first goal of the season.
Approximately 10 minutes later, a Mateo Sanchez free kick rang off the post and was cleaned up by Jiovanny Torres for a quick 2-0 Monte lead.
“The first 20 minutes we were on ‘em,” Montesano head coach Mateo Sanchez said. “We came out pretty ecstatic and were hyped up just to play the season opener and scored two goals off set pieces, which is always good to see.”
But the complexion of the game changed as the Knights (0-1) began to settle in after the early Montesano onslaught. Royal began to control the midfield with improved ball pressure and pass connection, leading to more time of possession.
The Knights recorded four consecutive shots over the final 20 minutes of the first half to just one for Monte and scored when an angled shot skipped past Bulldogs keeper Jayden McElravy in the final minute.
Both teams had chances early in the second half, with Royal getting off two shots in the first five minutes followed by two Monte shots over the subsequent six-minute period of play.
But the Bulldogs defense prevented any further danger throughout the remainder of the period.
McElravy made his fourth save of the game in the 68th minute and was credited by Coach Sanchez for making “an amazing save” earlier in the second half to help secure the win.
“It was a hard-fought win against a good team,” Coach Sanchez said. “I’m glad we got to get those guys over here.”
Montesano outshot the Knights 10-4, with two shots being on-goal.
The game was played as part of a season kickoff event hosted by Montesano High School that featured teams including Elma, Tumwater and Wahluke competing in games throughout Saturday.
The Bulldogs host King’s Way Christian at 7 p.m. on Monday.
Royal 1 0 – 1
Montesano 2 0 – 2
First half – 1, Montesano, Tobar, 3rd minute. 2, Montesano, Torres, 13th minute. 3, Royal, 40th minute.
Second half – none.