Spartans’ speed too much for Meadowdale in 3-0 defeat

Bainbridge finally got its revenge. One year removed from the 5-3 penalty kick loss versus the Lady Mavs in the first round of the state tournament, the Spartans were able to win this year’s battle without any drama. Celia Story and Riley Gregoire had first-half goals to put BHS up 2-0, and then Natalie Vukic had a pretty breakaway goal in second half stoppage time to seal a 3-0 victory.

Spartan goaltender Deahna King wasn’t tested much, as Bainbridge’s defense consistently took the ball away from Emily Crichlow and the Maverick offense. The Lady Mavs could not keep up with the Spartans and tried to play physically, but that style of play won’t work for long if the team can’t win any races to the ball.

The Spartans dominated the first half offensively. In the 4th minute, Story dribbled into the box and took a shot from a bad angle that just went wide. The fact that she was able to dance around two defenders was a slight bit of foreshadowing. The Mavs got their best chance of the first half when Alyssa Navlet sent a free kick in from 45 yards that was flicked on by Kendall Raecker, but it skipped wide. Five minutes later, Bainbridge was back at it. A through ball went into the box and Ashley Routh came out to collect it, but Gregoire beat her to it. Gregoire had to dribble the ball away from the goal to take it, and thus didn’t have a shooting angle. However, she got a cross off that bounced through the box and was cleared by the Mavs.

In the 20th minute, Charlotte Rosen found some space and hit a shot from 18 yards that went straight to Routh. Two minutes after, Gregoire was the one with time for a shot at the 18 and she sent a bit of a floater that just went over the crossbar harmlessly. Finally, in the 26th minute, the Spartans were able to capitalize on their continued pressure. Vukic found Gregoire with a pass into the box. Gregoire took one touch and fired a shot on net that Routh fumbled. Story came out of nowhere to follow the shot up, collected the loose ball, and rocketed the ball into the back of the net to give Bainbridge a 1-0 lead.

Then in the 37th minute, the Spartans struck again. A throw-in to Kristen Bond sent her down the sidelines. Bond was able to sprint past two Maverick defenders before running out of room and she sent a low cross into the box. Gregoire, who was also racing down the field, got a foot on the ball and directed it into the net to make it 2-0 Bainbridge. The rest of the half was spent in a battle for possession, not a battle for goals, and the Spartans took a 2-0 lead into the second.

The Spartans came right back in the second, hungry for more. Story got down the sidelines and sent in a cross that Gregoire got a header on, but Routh made the save. Six minutes later, Story almost used her speed to score again. Rosen attempted to reach Story with a through ball that was lobbed over the Lady Maverick defense, but Routh jumped up and caught the ball before Story could get there. In the 52nd minute, Story was in the Meadowdale defensive end again. This time, she managed to get a low cross to Katherine Pecora in the box, but Pecora’s shot was blocked by two defenders and eventually cleared.

After weathering the early storm, Meadowdale started to generate some offense. Navlet attempted a through ball to Crichlow, but King pounced on it first. Then in the 57th minute, Crichlow got a throw-in near the goal box, and attempted to spin around the defense as she did in the Shorecrest match. She got by one defender that way, but a second stood in her way, so when she tried a shot, the ball deflected and skipped. Taylor Monroe-Jones managed to get a foot on the ball, but she wasn’t able to get enough on it and the ball still bounced wide of the net. That was the Mavericks’ best chance of the match.

That offensive pressure earned the Mavs some free kicks though. On their first one, Monroe-Jones tried a bit of a trick play, where she just touched it and have Navlet “take” it instead, but the Spartans sniffed it out and cleared. Then in the 59th minute, Navlet took it for real but she tried a low cross to the top of the box like in the Shorecrest game, but again the Spartans saw through it and cleared it.

In the 66th minute, Crichlow dribbled down the sidelines and managed to get a cross off and into the box. However, since the Maverick formation is a 5-5-1, they had no other forward charging in with her, and the cross skipped through the box untouched. Three minutes after, Navlet earned a corner kick, and she sent a similar cross that also bounced through and out of bounds. The Mavs got their last chance in the 72nd minute when Navlet got another corner kick. King punched the cross in the air and the Spartans were first to the ball for the clear.

Bainbridge sealed the Mavericks’ fate in stoppage time. Vukic got the ball near the sidelines and she started on a breakaway. She ended up getting through three Maverick defenders and found herself in the box with just Routh in front of her. Vukic slid the ball through Routh’s legs and the Spartans took a 3-0 lead. That ended up being the final score as well.

With the loss, the Lady Mavs’ season is over, as well as the high school careers of seniors Alyssa Navlet, Kearstin Franco, Emily Crichlow, Kendall Raecker, Claire Zollars, and Carolyn Crosby. As for the Spartans, their next game is the quarterfinal round, and will be at home versus the loser of the Seattle Prep vs. Hazen match. The time and date of that game is to be decided.

— By Quint Turner

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