Thanks to a key midgame adjustment, a powerful shot from an unexpected player — and a little luck — the Mountlake Terrace Lady Hawks overcame a determined Arlington Lady Eagles squad Tuesday with a 2-0 win in a District 1 3A Girls Soccer Tournament elimination game at Edmonds Stadium.
With the victory, the Hawks earned the chance to play on Thursday, Nov. 3, for a spot in the upcoming WIAA 3A State tournament later this month.
Tuesday’s win wasn’t secured until late in the second half as Terrace scored twice in the final 14 minutes to defeat the Eagles. Sophomore midfielder Ava Hunt rocketed a shot from near the top of the 18-yard box that found the back of the Arlington net in the 66th minute, giving Terrace a 1-0 lead. Just six minutes later, junior Natalie Cardin tapped in a slow-rolling loose ball in the 6-yard box for the Hawks’ second goal.
The two late scores stunned the Eagles as the district tournament’s No.7 seed kept the No.3-seeded Hawks scoreless throughout the entire first half and much of the second on Tuesday. Terrace was getting opportunities to send shots on goal — Arlington’s Katie Snow was forced into making eight saves in the match — but none that really tested the junior goalkeeper throughout the game’s first 65 minutes.
Despite the struggle to break through with a goal early on, Cardin was convinced she and her Terrace teammates could prevail.
“I had confidence in our team; I knew we were going to get one,” said Cardin. “We were kind of dominating throughout the whole game. I was just hoping we would get the right combination going up the field and we did — twice.
To jumpstart the Terrace offensive attack, Coach George Dremousis made an in-game adjustment at the midpoint of the second half, moving some of his players into different positions. It was a daring move, giving players new assignments without the benefit of pregame preparations or halftime directives, but it paid off.
One of the formation changes was moving Hunt from her midfield position up to the attacking front line.
“The way the game was going, we needed someone else supporting on offense,” Cardin explained. “So we moved Ava up to forward and we just started getting shot after shot after shot. And we knew we were going to put one in after that.”
One of those shots was Hunt’s screamer in the 66th minute. “Ava had a wonderful shot; that was beautiful. And that really got us going,” Cardin said.
Cardin’s goal came off a free kick taken by teammate Daniela Cortezzo near the left corner flag. Cortezzo’s cross hit a jumble of players inside the 18-yard box, out of reach of the Arlington goalkeeper, then trickled free toward the left goal post where Cardin had no trouble coaxing the ball into the open goal.
“It was a team goal,” Cardin conceded after the game, adding there were “about four people who touched it in there.”
The match was the first for Cardin, the Hawks’ leading scorer this season, after a quadricep injury sidelined the junior for a while in late October.
Cardin and the rest of the Hawks will next face the district tourney’s No. 4 seed Oak Harbor Wildcats on Thursday; the game is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Shoreline Stadium. The winner of the match will finish in a tie for third place in the District 1 tournament and qualify for the state tourney that starts Nov. 8. The loser of the Terrace-Oak Harbor game will have one more chance to earn a ticket to state with a winner-in/loser-out match on Saturday, Nov. 5.
To view the entire District 1 3A Girls Soccer Tournament bracket, click www.wescoathletics.com/m2/tourn.php?act=vt&tid=3686#.
Prep Girls Soccer: Arlington at Mountlake Terrace; Nov. 1 (District 1 3A Girls Soccer Tournament elimination game)
Arlington 0 0 – 0
Terrace 0 2 – 2
Goal scorers: Ava Hunt (Mountlake Terrace), 66th minute
Natalie Cardin (Mountlake Terrace), 72nd minute
Saves: Sierra Sonko (Mountlake Terrace), 2
Katie Snow (Arlington), 8
Corner kick: Mountlake Terrace, 4
Yellow cards: Carly Bartlow (Arlington), 80th minute
Records: Mountlake Terrace 1-1 in District 1 3A tournament; 10-3-4 overall; Arlington 1-2 in District 1 3A tournament, 9-7-2 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Oak Harbor; Thursday, Nov. 3; 5 p.m. at Shoreline Stadium (District 1 3A Girls Soccer Tournament winner-to-state game)
— By Doug Petrowski