T-Birds beat Bellevue to stay in first
By Calvin Domingo - Staff Reporter
Wednesday afternoon at Star- fire Stadium, the big dog was back on the pitch.
With first place in the West Region on the line, the Highline women's soccer team leashed the Bellevue Bulldogs 3-0, leaving the Lady T-Birds alone in first place in the west.
"I'm glad we were able to play a good game against a good team. I knew that in this one, our substitution pattern was going to be a little bit different than usual. I knew that some of them weren't going to be happy with that," said Highline Head Coach Tom Moore.
Highline is now 12-1-1 overall and have broken the first-place tie with the Bulldogs (11-1-1 overall, 9-1-1 in league play) in the West Region with three games remaining on the regular season schedule.
The Lady T-Birds are ranked 13th in the country, with its only loss to No. 1 Cerritos of California. Defending champion Highline is ranked No. 1 in the Northwest Athletic Conference.
The T-Birds were in no mood to settle for anything but a victory on Wednesday.
During their first meeting on Sept. 12, Highline tied Bellevue 2-2.
Coach Moore saw the victory yesterday as a confidence-booster with just a few games remaining before heading into the playoffs.
He also stressed that once players got into the game, that they would have to take advantage of their opportunities whether that was five minutes of playing time or 25 minutes of playing time.
Meanwhile, star forward Jewel Boland of the Lady T-Birds was named the NWAC Women's Soccer Athlete of the Week for week 7. During the week, she racked up three goals and two assists in Highline's victories against West Region rivals Pierce and Tacoma.
"All I can say is that I am thankful and proud of my team for helping me get there," Boland said.
Thanks to their impenetrable defense and aggressive nature on offense, Highline was able to shut out the Grays Harbor Chokers with a final score of 11-0 on the T-Birds' home field at Starfire on Oct. 10. Forward Hannah Anderson led the way for the T-Birds with three
goals while Boland contributed two goals and an assist.
The Lady T-Birds had a very diverse attack with eight different players scoring at least one goal. Their aggressiveness on the offensive end was highlighted by their 43-1 shot advantage.
In addition to Anderson and Boland, Dino Gonzalez, Chloe Lamenzo, Skyylerblu Johnson, Kainoa Dafun, Taylor Capuzzi and Valeria Rios all contributed to the scoring binge with goals.
By halftime, the game had already been all but decided. The T-Birds entered intermission with a 9-0 advantage and no signs of any resistance from Grays Harbor.
The game finally came to a merciful end at the 71-minute mark, at which point the score was already a lopsided 11-0. While there isn't a mercy rule in place, the game was called off earlier than usual since Grays Harbor was short on players.
Rios scored the final goal of the game at the 67-minute mark, on an assist from McKenzie Buell.
In the match-up against the Lower Columbia College Red Devils (5-4-1 in league play), Highline managed another shut- out, this time with an 8-0 demolition of the Red Devils. Forward Kacy-Lyn Navarro led the way with two goals and was one of seven Lady T-Birds to score a goal in the contest.
Before the game could even hit the 3-minute mark, the Lady T-Birds already found themselves in the scoring column with Ander- son's goal at the 2-minute mark on an assist from Savannah Nichols.
Just before the half, Navarro added two goals, one at the 30-minute mark on an assist from Gonzalez, and one at the 43-minute mark which was unassisted. By the half-way point, it was 3-0.
Going into the second half, the Lady T-Birds played with a sense of urgency that was lacking from Lower Columbia, attempting more shots (25) in the second half than they did in the first half (22). With a 47-3 shot advantage, High- line was once again the more aggressive team by more than a mile.
The defensive shut-out was led by goalkeeper Savanah Hutchinson's three total saves.
She said that they've worked on plenty of defense in practice, even putting in extra time after practice.
"A lot of shooting, crossing and finishing. Practicing every day after practice and putting in extra work," Hutchinson said. "We kept working on our weak- nesses."
As for Bellevue, whose eight- game winning streak ended in the loss to the Lady T-Birds, they were previously coming off a 3-0 victo- ry against the Pierce College Raiders (5-7-1 overall, 3-6-1 in league play) which took place on Oct. 13 in Bellevue.
Highline next plays against the Green River Gators on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Wilson Playfields in Kent. They clash with the Centralia College Trailblazers on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at Centralia at 7 p.m.
The Lady T-Birds wrap up the regular season on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. against Grays Harbor in Aberdeen.