So close, but no bubble gum cigar for Oak Harbor girls soccer team when they played Monroe Tuesday. Both teams kept each other on pins-and-needles for 90 minutes of play, and even after two five-minute overtime periods, both teams walked off the field scoreless.
It was a game marked by aggressive play from both teams, and two Wildcats were a little too wild for the referee’s liking, as they were each issued a yellow card warning.
Monroe showed strength in the first half, criss-crossing through Oak Harbor players, and maintaining the ball within the Oak Harbor 18-yard box to give Wildcat keeper Devon Shulock some nervous moments. But both halves of the field got wear and tear as the two teams played an evenly matched first half.
When the Wildcats take the time to work the ball on the ground, dribbling and passing in and out of their opponent — it’s a beautiful thing. In the first half the Cats’ Hazel Sapida and Kari Goebel gave Monroe a little weaving lesson and easily played their way up the field. They weren’t able to capitalize on the run to score, but it was smooth, and got to the goal effortlessly.
However, both Monroe and Oak Harbor played the majority of the match in a sloppy battle of the long ball.
Both teams came into the second half energized and determined to score. Five minutes of the second half can go down as being owned by Oak Harbor. With around 23 minutes left, Oak Harbor junior Gretyl Pruss gave a through pass to forward Tina Nicolas that she knocked over to freshman Abby Pruss for an attempt at goal. A Monroe head was the only thing that saved the resulting corner kick from turning into an Oak Harbor tally.
Sapida was able to keep the ball in the Monroe half, switching the field, and the play on the goal was stopped after the ref whistled off the crowd of Cats surrounding the Monroe keeper.
No. 18 for Oak Harbor, sophomore Amanda Watts, was issued the first yellow card of the night with 17 minutes left. This drew a loud response from the Oak Harbor stands, who questioned the reaction to one side of a two-sided aggressive game.
The final minutes were whistle-laden as both teams attempted to nab a point, and the aggression mounted. Oak Harbor’s Kaylea Kingma was handed the second yellow of the evening with three minutes left. Shortly after, play was stopped as Monroe’s Natalie Accentturo took a hit that could be heard throughout the Oak Harbor side of the stadium. The knock resulted in no card issued to either side, just delayed play.
A last ditch Cats effort for a regulation score was made with a right side cross from Gretyl Pruss to Cassie Connolly, followed up by Kari Dunbar. So close, but not enough to keep away overtime.
Although scoreless into period two, Monroe made sure that Oak Harbor’s goalkeeper, Shulock, was still awake. Heavy pressure by the visiting Bearcats was smothered by the Wildcat defense, and a save by Shulock tucked away the goose egg for the night.
Tonight Oak Harbor plays Stanwood at home. The Cats take on Wesco north top dogs Snohomish Tuesday.