The Meadowdale girls soccer team has taken its first step towards going to the state playoffs for a fifth straight year with a 3-0 win over Ferndale in the first round of the Wesco district tournament.
Outside of the first 10 minutes, the Mavericks controlled the ball with their strong midfield. Ferndale struggled to string together passes in the attacking zone or even get into the goal box since the Meadowdale defense played so tight. Kendall Raecker played sweeper while three defenders played the second to last line of defense in front of her, and not a single through ball got past the defense. Emily Crichlow, Hannah Taylor, and Taylor Monroe-Jones had the three goals for the Mavericks and Ashley Routh recorded a shutout.
Ferndale came out in the first 10 minutes or so and dominated possession, but it didn’t generate many scoring chances. Their best chance of the game came in the 6th minute when Carly Bannerman hit a free kick from 40 yards out that floated over the Maverick defense and to Shelby Slaughter. Her one-touch header hit off the outside of the right post and went out of bounds. Three minutes later, the Golden Eagles earned another free kick, and this time, Bannerman tried a shot from 45 yards that went just wide of the net. After that chance, the Lady Mavs settled down and started to get their passes settled down and to their intended targets a lot better. In the 12th minute, they finally got their first chance of the match when Alyssa Navlet settled a high pass to Taylor, and her 25 yard shot went over the crossbar.
In the 17th minute, Kearstin Franco got a shot on net from 25 yards that bounced out of goalkeeper Linsey Honeycutt’s hands, but she recovered. That bobble was a small bit of foreshadowing. In the 24th minute, the Mavs struck first blood. Taylor got the ball up to Franco at the 30-yard line, and instead of taking a shot, she hit a short through ball to Crichlow. Crichlow dribbled into the box, juked out her defender, and pushed a shot past Honeycutt to give the Mavericks a 1-0 lead. After that goal, neither side was able to get any offensive chances as the game was a battle in the midfield. The teams could get the ball to their forwards, but then the defense stepped up and cleared the ball. The game remained 1-0 Meadowdale at the half.
The start of the second half was just like the end of the first half: a battle for possession more than a battle for goals. In the 46th minute, the Mavs earned a corner kick, and Navlet sent a cross into the box. Monroe-Jones got a head on it but pushed it wide of the net. Then, in the 57th minute, Meadowdale doubled its lead. They earned a free kick 40 yards out that Navlet took, and she once again sent it into the box. The ball was sent too far and Honeycutt came out to grab it. However, the ball went through her hands and Taylor jumped on the loose ball and easily scored. That made it 2-0 Meadowdale, and the Golden Eagles were unable to recover from the goal.
In the 65th minute, the Golden Eagles earned another free kick from 60 yards out that Bannerman sent into the box. Raecker headed the ball away to Navlet, and she sent a through ball to Crichlow. Crichlow got behind the defense and into the box before trying a shot that clanged off the far post and back out. Three minutes after, the Mavs sealed their victory with a third goal. Franco attempted a low cross that Navlet flicked to Monroe-Jones in the middle of the field. Monroe-Jones hit a one-timer that rocketed into the top left corner of the net to make it 3-0 Meadowdale. The Lady Mavs defense held strong after that and Meadowdale held on to win 3-0.
With the win, the Lady Mavs will stay in the winner’s bracket and play Shorewood at Shoreline Stadium on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to the state tournament and will play in the championship for the first seed from Wesco. As for Ferndale, they play at Marysville-Pilchuck on Tuesday at a time to be determined. The loser of that game is out of state contention.