MARYSVILLE — By completing the season sweep of Monroe with a home win April 19, M-P maintained its half-game lead to top the league.
The Tomahawks remain just ahead of Cascade, whom they face next in an April 25 game with conference championship implications.
Monroe didn’t give up the game easily. The playoff-caliber team has put together seven wins of its own this season, including one over Cascade and a draw with Snohomish.
But M-P broke the stalemate around the 60th minute when senior forward Ryan Wilson found himself in a face off with Monroe keeper Miles Garman, scoring the winning goal from point-blank range.
Wilson added another goal for the Tomahawks with about eight minutes left on a free kick. No one else found the goal that day.
“I’m really glad he stepped it up,” M-P coach Geoff Kittle said of Wilson’s game. “He was able to focus under pressure.”
An injury to Monroe freshman Quinn Coan in the early going threatened to overshadow the game. Coan was injured in a tangle with a Tomahawk player, igniting Monroe coach Ryan Schaeffer. But the midfielder was examined on site and released to the sideline. After the game, Schaeffer told the M-P team there were no hard feelings.
“Ryan said he really wanted to encourage our team to win the league,” Kittle said of the rivals’ conversation. “It was really nice to feel like we have an ally with them.”
The Tommies have been hitting their stride as a team, with goals coming from five different players over the last four games. The 2-0 defeat of Monroe also marked their fourth consecutive shutout since their April 7 win over Snohomish — a statistic Kittle attributed to a consistently strong defense anchored by keeper Erik Cruz and senior captain Brian Nobach.
After completing three games in a week, the Tomahawks have almost as much time to prepare for their rematch with Cascade, who defeated them 2-1 in a muddy overtime game at Quil Ceda Stadium. While Cascade will have home-field advantage, M-P looks forward to away games on turf where it can better execute a spread out, swing offense.
“When we get on field turf, we really enjoy this,” Kittle said.