Montesano cemented itself as one of the top girls soccer programs in the 1A class on Saturday, earning a trip to its third-consecutive trip to the Final Four with a 2-0 win over University Prep at Sammamish High School in Bellevue.
Playing with a strong wind in their faces, the Bulldogs (14-5-2 overall) played a defensive first half as the Pumas (14-3) tried to thin out the Monte defensive by attacking wide.
“We were basically defending a lot in the first half,” Montesano head coach Fidel Sanchez said of U Prep’s wind-aided attack. “We kept everything in front of us. They had a plan to play wide alot and our plan was to match that and we kind of took away their farthest player to the goal because they wanted us to shift over and then pick us apart. So we took that away and it worked out pretty good.”
Montesano weathered the onslaught, with senior keeper Riley Timmons making four saves, to enter halftime in a scoreless tie.
With the wind at the Bulldogs backs in the second half, Monte took advantage.
Bulldogs midfielder Alexa Stanfield sent a long throw-in that was underestimated by U Prep defenders, who saw the ball sail over their heads and to awaiting Monte junior midfielder Sam Roundtree.
Roundtree settled the ball and sent a low shot that tucked just inside the far post for a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute.
“The wind was pretty wicked. It kind of carried (the ball),” Sanchez said of the throw-in that led to Roundtree’s goal. “The (Pumas) centerback made a mistake in going forward and it went over her head. That’s where Sam found the ball, cut it back a little bit away from another defender and shot it near post.”
Roundtree found herself in the right spot at the right time once again to double Monte’s lead 13 minutes later.
Another Alexa Stanfield long throw-in created problems for the Pumas as a U Prep defender tried to send the ball back toward goal but didn’t hit it full, creating a 50-50 ball Montesano forward Adda Potts was happy to pressure.
Potts got a foot on the ball to tap it to trailing midfielder Mikayla Stanfield, who sent a horizontal pass toward fellow midfielder Bethanie Henderson at the top of the 18-yard box.
Henderson attempted to one-time the pass but had the ball scuff off the outside of her foot, sending it further to the open right side and right in the path of Roundtree, who sent a low, left-footed shot back across the grain past a diving Pumas keeper and inside the far post for a 2-0 lead.
Timmons and Monte’s defense did the rest, limiting the Pumas’ opportunities while the senior keeper recorded two more saves to secure the victory and send the Bulldogs to the state semifinals for the third straight season, uncharted territory for a Twin Harbors girls soccer program.
“The girls have had a tough schedule this year and I think it prepared them to play these tough teams,” Sanchez said.
Timmons made eight saves in the game while the Bulldogs offensive attack had four shots total, three being on-goal.
With the win, Montesano advances to play No. 2 Seattle Academy in a 1A State semifinal matchup at 5 p.m. on Friday at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma.
“Everybody wants to get to the Final Four,” Sanchez said of his team’s success, joining fellow Final Four teams Klahowya and Seattle Academy as the teams to reach the state semis in each of the past three seasons. “Tthe same three teams have been there for the past three years, so you’re talk about consistency of success. … We would like to get to a final and maybe the third time is the charm, but it’s consistent success. … That’s what we strive for and that’s what we’ve been doing since taking over the program seven years ago.”
Montesano 0 2 – 2
University Prep 0 0 – 0
First half – None.
Second half – 1, Montesano, Roundtree, 52nd minute. 2, Montesano, Roundtree, 65th minute.