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Marysville-Pilchuck falls to Monroe Bearcats on the pitch
MARYSVILLE — Fourth-place Marysville-Pilchuck (3-7 Wesco North, 4-7 overall) hit the road on Oct. 13 for a grudge match against the third-place (4-6, 4-7) Monroe Bearcats who had beaten the Tomahawks 4-2 in the season opener on Sept. 8.
Pilchuck is 4-6 since then, but the ship would be righted and the Tomahawks could enter a tie for the third and final 4-A North District seed with a revenge win.
What ensued was an absolute cracker of a match between two very even teams.
“Let’s not stand around in the first half,” Pilchuck coach Paul Bartley told his players before the squad sang the Tomahawk fight song. “Let’s get after it.”
Monroe brought the heat in the first half with a quick-strike offense and ping-pong passing up and down the pitch. M-P matched the explosion with downfield volleys and challenged the Bearcat forwards with roughneck defense.
The Tomahawks’ spread offense put Monroe keeper Sydney Day in danger, but Monroe took each one of Day’s saves and pushed it right back downfield.
Pilchuck keeper Melissa Schuetz corralled shot after shot to quell Monroe’s attacks and rescue her defense that bent but she would not let break.
“Talk,” Bartley called from the sideline as the Tomahawks ran down the field with through balls in search of a home run, but again and again the Bearcats sent the ball sailing back into Tomahawk territory. Bartley subbed players in and out to keep the intensity up and his team’s fatigue down.
The rivals stood scoreless at halftime, but the fireworks were yet to begin.
M-P senior defender Tiffany Franks stonewalled Monroe’s first attack of the second half by blocking a shot with a defiant shoulder. Junior keeper Carly Moberg cleaned up a loose ball in a box full of Monroe attackers, stopped a 3-on-1 Monroe charge out of a set piece in the 54th minute and scooped up Bearcat shots from the top of the box in the 55th, 59th, 64th and 68th minutes to save her side from oblivion.
But it was the 65th minute that made the difference.
Monroe junior forward Sarena Meyers surprised Moberg and the entire defense with a high kick from a right-corner cross to the near post into the back of the Tomahawk net for the 1-0 advantage.
Pilchuck came back with a vicious retaliation, sending cross after cross to the middle of the Monroe box, but Day would not fold, stopping 70th and 75th-minute crosses and blocking senior Tomahawk Lauren Nolte and sophomore Mikayla Wright’s 1-on-1 shots in the 75th and 79th.
The Tomahawks had one last chance for a goal as they lined up for a right-side corner with 30 seconds left, but Day stepped up and secured the ball in the middle of the box to seal the Bearcats win.
“Tactically, we did what we wanted to do,” Bartley said. “They finished on a corner and we didn’t.”
The Tomahawks, who remain in fourth place as of the 1-0 loss to Monroe, will not look back at this match as one they gave away.
“I need the same effort every night,” Bartley said to his team after the match. “You can’t tell me that wasn’t fun.”