For two-thirds of the game, the upstart Hoquiam Grizzlies kept the game close under relentless offensive pressure of the Elma Eagles.
But eventually the Eagles attack proved to be too much in earning a 4-0 win on Tuesday at Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam.
Elma (6-1 overall, 2-0 1A Evergreen) and Hoquiam (1-1-2, 0-1) played scoreless through the first third of the game, with the Eagles spending the majority of the time inside the Hoquiam half of the field.
But thanks to a solid defensive game plan and some spectacular saves from Grizzlies junior Jemima Perez, Hoquiam held the Eagles off the scoreboard.
In the 24th minute of the match, Elma broke through. Sophomore forward Beta Valentine collected a throw-in, pivoted and sent a hard shot past a diving Perez to the far post for a 1-0 lead.
Elma looked to extend its lead later in the first half, but the Hoquiam defense continued to cut off crosses and rotate well toward Eagles attackers to keep the score at 1-0 entering halftime.
In the second half, Elma sophomore Valerie Echeverria sprinted down the wing and sent a cross in toward the front of the Hoquiam box.
Valentine found the cross and ripped a hard shot that deflected off the hand of a diving Perez for a 2-0 lead in the 54th minute.
Then Elma’s consistent high-octane attack started to take its toll on the Hoquiam defense, which began to crack under the pressure.
With 20 minutes left in the game, Valentine sent a diagonal through ball toward sophomore forward Miley Seaberg, who beat an oncoming Perez to the ball for a 3-0 lead.
Elma added a goal in the 70th minute when Seaberg sent a cross to junior Aaleigh Weld, who hit a high shot into the top of the net to round out the scoring at 4-0.
“I give credit to the Hoquiam defense in the first half. They clogged the middle and made it extra hard to find space,” Elma head coach Evan Valentine said. “Once we got that security goal, I told my team that it’s (Hoquiam’s) problem to solve. … They are behind and we don’t have to do anything hasty.”
Valentine commended Elma midfielders Eliza Sibbett and Amaya Lewis, stating they were “destroyers and monsters in the midfield.”
“A lot of little things need addressed to get back on track,” Hoquiam head coach John Johnson said of the loss. “(Hoquiam) played hard but could not find enough opportunities to take shots with some of our offensive players stepping up to play defense tonight.”
Elma hosts Tenino at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Hoquiam will take on Adna at 7 p.m. Thursday at Olympic Stadium.
Montesano 3, Tenino 1
Montesano overcame Tenino’s defense in a 3-1 league victory on Tuesday in Tenino.
The Bulldogs (6-1, 1-0 1A Evergreen) got a goal from senior forward Lilly Causey in the ninth minute and doubled its lead heading to the half when junior forward Mikayla Stanfield netted a shot in the 40th minute.
Monte took a 3-0 lead when Stanfield scored her second of the game in the 53rd minute.
Tenino (2-4-1, 0-1) scored in the 70th minute to make it a 3-1 contest.
“It was hard to get into any kid of rhythm,” said Montesano head coach Fidel Sanchez, who noted Tenino’s defensive strategy of slowing the Bulldogs attack down by frequently kicking the ball out of bounds was somewhat effective. “Tenino did a good job at disrupting our game.”
Montesano held a significant advantage in total shots (13-3) and shots on-goal (11-3) over the Beavers.
Montesano plays against Eatonville at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Eatonville High School.
Tumwater 3, Aberdeen 0
Aberdeen played a solid defensive game but lost 3-0 to Tumwater on Tuesday in Tumwater.
The Bobcats (3-2, 2-2 2A Evergreen) trailed 2-0 at the half after Tumwater goals in the 20th and 32nd minutes.
Aberdeen’s defense kept the Thunderbirds off the scoreboard in the second half until a goal in the 70th minute.
Bobcats head coach Larry Fleming acknowledged the play of Britt Rajcich, Maddi Gore, Aili Scott, Marina Marll, Zoe Troeh. Aman Cheema and goal keeper Dom Trevino.
Aberdeen will take on Shelton at 7 p.m. Thursday at Stewart Field in Aberdeen.