Wildcats boot Bulldogs 4-0

It was cold, wet and windy Thursday at Memorial Stadium and the Wildcat girls’ soccer team loved every minute of it as they were in control from the outset, routing Mount Vernon’s Bulldogs 4-0 on Seniors’ Night.

Seniors Krista Bjorge, Kara Bloch, Theresa Black and Katy Nydam were playing their last home game. And they were facing a team they had lost to earlier in the season. The motivation was evident from the opening kick.

The Wildcats set the pace early, keeping pressure on Mount Vernon and jumping to a quick 1-0 lead just five minutes in. Sophomore Gretyl Pruss took a pass in front from Nydam, drew goalkeeper Katie Leonard outside and put a nifty lob shot just over Leonard’s fingertips and into the right corner of the net.

The Wildcats kept the Bulldogs backed up to their goal constantly. Goal keeper Devon Shulock was the loneliest person on the field as she did not handle a ball until the 24th minute, and that came on a long-range shot that trickled into her hands ten yards in front of her goal.

Sophomore Jen White made it 2-0 as she rebounded a shot off Leonard’s forearms and drilled it into the left side in the 27th minute.

White picked up her second goal in the second half as she gained possession on the 20, used some nice footwork to free herself up and put it in the left side from 10 yards out.

Nydam closed out the scoring as she came in unguarded on the right wing and booted a bullet into the left side of the net in the final minute.

Coach Gretchen Talmadge was elated for her seniors but also was quick to praise the defensive work of sophomore Hazel Sapida. "Hazel played an outstanding game on their number three," referring to Bulldog standout Wendy Hugo.

"The biggest differences tonight from the first time against them were our spacing and playing heads up. We did a better job at that," Talmadge said.

The four seniors, soaked to the bone and loving it, expressed their sentiments afterwards. "It was good to have a last game that was important," said Black. "We needed to win for the playoffs and we wanted to make up for them beating us earlier in the year. It helped that we knew how to play them. We learned from that first game," she added.

Bjorge amplified Black’s revenge theme, "after they beat us, it was good to come back to beat them. Plus it knocked them out of the playoffs," the tough middle fielder noted.

Bloch spoke of the weather and the seniors "last hoo-rah." "Rain always gets us pumped up, we love to play in it. It was great to win one more time on our field."

And Nydam touched on the revenge factor one last time. "It’s always good to beat somebody you lost to. Beating them in our last home game just made it that much better."

Talmadge also was, no-doubt, anxious to find out scores from around the league. The Wildcats are tied with Snohomish for the North Division’s second spot. "If we finish second we get a bye in the first round of the playoffs. We’d have to play twice instead of three times to get to Bi-District," the coach noted.

With just one regular season game remaining, Tuesday at Stanwood, the Wildcats will need some help to get the coveted second place. The Wildcats and Panthers both have 20 points, but the Panthers play two more regular season games, Tuesday against Arlington and Thursday at Monroe. Snohomish beat both of their upcoming opponents in their first outings but Monroe has been playing much stronger late in the season and is in the mix for a playoff spot themselves.

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