Montesano 2, Eatonville 1
(Montesano, WA) This was an important match between the Cruisers and Bulldogs as they started the game in 3rd and 4th place in the Evco 1A. Only the top 3 advance so it was a critical match especially for 4th place Montesano with a 3-6 league mark while Eatonville was 3-4 but had already beaten the Bulldogs earlier this season. So a win in this match would give them a bigger lead and the head-to-head tie-breaker.
The Cruisers jumped out to a 1-0 in the 11th minute when Brenton Unger sent a long crossing pass to Kyle Imhoff who fired a hard low shot past Bulldog keeper Cail Reynolds. The 2 teams would battle back and forth when Connor Parkinson for Montesano tallied the equalizer in the 26th minute after a scramble for the ball in front of Cruisers keeper Casey Silcox.
Montesano would then take their 1st lead in the match on a 35-yard free kick by Jonathan Rodriguez into the upper right, perfectly placed where Silcox had no chance to get to it and in the 33rd the Bulldogs had a 2-1 lead which they would take to the half.
As the 2nd half began the teams battled much of the time in the middle of the field and through the first 20 minutes there was no scoring. Eatonville would then have their best chance at tying up the match with about 10 minutes to play when the Bulldog keeper Reynolds attacked for a loose ball but Eatonville’s Nick VanCour got past and had a dead on shot when Monte’s Eric Blanchard came from no where with a tremendous bicycle kick save denying the tying goal.
The final 10 minutes were high paced and things got chippy on the field and on the sideline between the coaching staffs as the officials lost control of the match. The officiating was inconsistent at best and in such an important match both sides got a little heated. In the end the Bulldogs play-off hopes remain alive as the top 3 advance to the District Tournament. Hoquiam and Elma are battling for 1st and 2nd and now Montesano is 4-6 while Eatonville is 3-5 but have 6 league matches to play while Montesano has 4.
Our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Players of the game were Eric Blanchard for Montesano with tremendous defensive play along with the game saving block and for Eatonville Nick Schier. Our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game goes to Jonathan Rodriguez for his 35-yard free kick game winning goal.