SUMNER — In more ways than one, this was a long night for Montesano’s girls soccer team.
Dominating time of possession, Cascade Christian cracked Monte’s rugged defense once in each half for a 2-0 victory over the Bulldogs in the opening round of the state Class 1A tournament on Tuesday night at Sunset Chev Stadium.
The Cougars from Puyallup (17-0-1) will host the winner of tonight’s King’s-Vashon Island contest in Saturday’s state quarterfinals. The Bulldogs ended their season at 12-5-2.
It took nearly three hours for Cascade Christian to complete this triumph.
Scheduled for a 6 p.m. start, the match began an hour late due to the tardy arrival of the officials — who reportedly were under the impression that the contest was scheduled for Wednesday.
Due to the late start, there were still about three minutes remaining when a timing device extinguished a bank of lights on one side of the stadium. Following about a 15-minute delay, the match was completed.
Considering Cascade Christian’s huge advantage in shots on goal (unofficially 19-4) and an even greater disparity in time of possession, it was a wonder that the Bulldogs remained within striking distance.
Credit belongs to goalkeeper Haylee Perkinson, who made several spectacular saves, and a rock-solid defensive unit that included Morgan Kersker, Annie Cristelli, Katie Granstrom, Hallie Stubb and Hannah Quinn. Normally a midfielder, Quinn shifted to defender after Stubb was shaken up early in the second half.
“I was really impressed with the defense and our goalkeeper,” Bulldog assistant coach Rick Denholm said.
Trailing since the 11th minute, the Bulldogs actually had a reasonable chance at tying it with about 10 minutes remaining.
Samantha Stanfield sent a through ball ahead to freshman Anna Ayres, who split a pair of defenders and launched an on-target shot from the edge of the penalty area. But Cougar goalkeeper Kierstin Patefield made a leaping save.
“We took one defender out to press up (for the tying goal),” Denholm explained.
The Cougars countered with a successful run on their next possession, with Nicole Souply converting a one-on-one chance against Perkinson.
When Monte’s Glory Grubb shot barely wide with about five minutes remaining, the outcome was assured.
Perkinson set the tone in the fourth minute. The junior goalkeeper made a diving save of a close-range Souply shot, deflecting the ball into the crossbar from where it bounced back into play.
Souply was denied by Perkinson on at least two other prime scoring chances.
But Cascade Christian’s Hailey Brandner drilled a wide-open 18-yard attempt barely beyond a diving Perkinson’s fingertips and into the lower left corner of the net to open the scoring in the 11th minute.
Montesano’s only on-target shot in the first half came in the 19th minute. Cristelli’s 35-yard free kick bounced high off the artificial turf, forcing Patefield to go up the ladder to gather it in.
The Evergreen 1A champion Bulldogs earned a state berth for the third successive year and the sixth time in the last seven years. They have yet to win a state contest.
“It was a great year,” Denholm said. “It was tough in the second half of the season (when head coach Mike Malpass was sidelined due to illness), but the girls dealt with it real well. We’re coming a step closer every year to winning in the first round of state.”