Bulldogs clinch state soccer berth with rout of Tenino

It wasn’t hard for the Montesano Bulldogs to find their motivation entering the Nov. 2 District IV 1A semifinal girls soccer match at Rottle Field.

The Bulldogs struck early and often to knock off Evergreen 1A League rival Tenino, 5-0.

On Saturday afternoon, Montesano fell to King’s Way Christian in the district title game at Rottle Field.

“The girls had the determination to get into the state tournament; it is nice to have a team that understands the significance of the moment and that was the difference,” Montesano head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “When you have the chance to qualify for the state tournament on your home field, you don’t let those chances go. These girls know that and they competed for it.”

Five different Montesano players got onto the scoring ledger in this contest, with the first three coming from the Bulldogs’ talented crew of underclassmen – Zoee Lisherness, Brooke Streeter, Anna Ayres, Samantha Stanfield and Lexi Lovell. This was vital in a matchup where Montesano had two one-goal wins over Tenino during league play.

In the sixth minute, senior Peyton Poler delivered a cross into the penalty area that found freshman Lisherness, who controlled the pass. On a volley shot, Lisherness delivered the ball inside the left post for the 1-0 lead.

“Tenino is an explosive team and we wanted to get on top of them quickly,” Sanchez added. “Any time you can score early in a semifinal game, it will carry the momentum through the rest of the game. You can see the girls relax and start looking for the goal, looking for their chance. They were hungry.”

Monte kept the pressure on and was rewarded with its second goal in the 23rd minute. Lisherness sent a leading through ball into the path of freshman Streeter. Tenino goalkeeper Maria Collins came out to challenge for the ball, but Streeter got control. Once Streeter put Collins behind her, she scored into an empty net at 2-0.

Tenino was unable to crack Montesano’s defense in the first half, allowing goalkeeper Haylee Perkinson to have a smooth night in goal. She finished with four saves overall.

Just before the stroke of halftime, the Bulldogs sent the Beavers to the locker room pondering a 3-0 halftime deficit. On a long 35-yard free kick, the ball was not cleared by Tenino’s defense. With it pinballing around the penalty area in front of the goal, Monte’s Ayres got a foot onto the ball and poked it into the net to end the first-half festivities.

If Tenino harbored any chance to get back into the contest in the second half, it was extinguished three minutes in. A foul by Collins on a crossing pass resulted in a penalty kick for Montesano – Stanfield smoothly struck the upper right net for a 4-0 lead.

Lovell ended the scoring in the 65th minute when she found herself in the right spot on a corner kick.

The kick initially found a Tenino defender, but the ball bounced away onto Lovell’s foot. From there, the junior went across the net with her shot into the low right corner for the score.