Down early, Montesano roared back with two second-half goals from Anna Ayres to pick up the 3-1 road win over Elma at Davis Field on Oct. 8.
Elma picked up an early goal in the 13th minute off a free kick from Jillian Bieker. The Eagles’ leading-goal scorer hit a shot that made its way over Monte’s defensive wall and past keeper Ellie Barbo for an early 1-0 lead.
Elma head coach Evan Valentine said Bieker’s performance has been impressive lately, especially as she has seen her role increase as injuries have impacted Elma.
“Jill has been working really hard. I’m asking a lot of her, I’m probably asking too much of her, but she’s a quality player,” he said. “I’m putting a lot on her shoulders and she’s running with it.”
Monte (7-2, 3-0) pulled even before halftime with a goal in the 29th minute from midfielder Brooke Streeter. Ayres set up the game-tying goal with a pass that found Streeter just outside the box to even the score at 1-1.
The Bulldogs didn’t waste much time untying the contest in the second half as Ayres scored in the 46th minute off an assist from Streeter.
Later in the half, Streeter found Ayres on a through ball that allowed Ayres to streak past the Elma back line and beat keeper Paige Knutson one-on-one in the 53rd minute, giving Monte a 2-1 lead.
Bulldogs head coach Fidel Sanchez said improved passing in the second half allowed them to pull ahead.
“Our midfield took over and we were moving the ball better than we did in the first half,” he said. “In the first half, we couldn’t get settled in as much as we wanted to. The second half was much better. We moved the ball up the middle to get quality shots on goal.”
All league matches carry a certain weight, but Tuesday’s match had an extra energy around it being an East County rivalry match.
Sanchez said he could tell that Elma was playing with a point to prove.
“I think in a rivalry game, against a very motivated Elma team, it was going to be one of those games where we have to get organized and get our things in order,” he said. “Elma played us tough and I’m glad they played us tough. It should wake us up a little bit.”
Despite the loss, Valentine was pleased with how his team played competitively against a Bulldogs team that is currently tied for the league lead.
“I’m really happy with how hard they worked and how they played,” he said.”They kept it compact and did what I wanted 100%.”