Montesano overcame a sub-par performance by its own standards to put itself on the brink of the first district championship in program history.
A Levi Clements goal late in the second half proved to be the difference as Montesano defeated Columbia-White Salmon 2-1 in a 1A District 4 semifinal game on Tuesday at Jack Rottle Field in Montesano.
Second-ranked Monte (17-1 overall) took an early 1-0 lead when senior midfielder Mateo Sanchez bent a corner kick into the net for an Olympico in the 4th minute.
“That set the tone pretty well for us, we kind of relaxed after that,” Montesano head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “We knew it was going to be a kind of attacking game for us and our boys stuck with the game plan pretty well.”
Inconsistent midfield play and a misfiring attack helped to prevent Monte from extending the lead.
After halftime, Columbia-White Salmon (12-5) scored just six minutes into the second half to tie the game.
Nearing the final 10 minutes of play, a Sanchez corner kick found junior midfielder Levi Clements, who kneed the ball past a diving Bruins keeper for a 2-1 advantage.
Monte’s defense held the rest of the way, putting Monte into the state tournament and a district-title matchup against Seton Catholic (15-1-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Tenino (subject to change).
“It was a fight, Columbia-White Salmon is a good team. … I think they are a top-10 team,” Coach Sanchez said of the Bruins before commenting on the pressure his team will face playing for the program’s first district title. “The fact that we qualified is a lot of weight off their shoulders. I think that was their biggest worry. I don’t think they wanted to play a loser-out game on Thursday. That’s why it was such a big game, ‘Let’s just get it done now so we don’t have to worry about it.’”
Coach Sanchez added the perseverance his team showed, despite not playing, revealed its character.
“The boys fought a very good opponent and we didn’t play our best game by far,” he said. “It was one of those games where we just could not get much going and our midfield sputtered at times, and to still get the win against a good opponent, that says a lot about the team. I’m pretty happy about that.”
Columbia-White Salmon 1 0 – 1
Montesano 1 1 – 2
First half – 1, Montesano, Sanchez, 4th minute.
Second half – 2, CWS, 46th minute. 3, Montesano, Levi Clements, 69th minute.
Elma 4, La Center 0
Elma survived and advanced with a 4-0 win over La Center in a 1A District 4 elimination-round game on Tuesday in Elma.
The Eagles (11-8) got a goal from sophomore Ivan Torres before the Doelman-Seaberg connection took over the game. Eagles junior midfielder Hank Doelman found junior standout Cason Seaberg for three unanswered goals to give Elma the shutout victory and end the season for La Center (5-13).
“We came out good. We were moving the ball well and creating some opportunities early on,” Elma head coach Carson Seaberg said. “For the most part, we were able to control the midfield, which we haven’t done lately, so that was good for us.”
With the win, Elma will face King’s Way Christian in an elimination game scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in Montesano (subject to change).
“Everybody that went in played really hard and did really well,” Coach Seaberg said. “Pleased with the outcome and we gave ourselves a chance to stay alive for a state berth and we’ll see what happens.”
Elma 3 1 – 4
La Center 0 0 – 0
First half – 1, Elma, Torres (Corbin), 12th minute. 2, Elma, Seaberg (Doelman), 32nd minute. 3, Elma, Seaberg (Doelman), 36th minute.
Second half – 4, Elma, Seaberg (Doelman), 36th minute.