Mt. Rainier offense stuns Kentwood
By Gerardo Bolong
Progressive passing powered the Mt. Rainier girls soccer team to a comeback 4-3 NPSL 4A North Division win against Kentwood at Valley Ridge Park in SeaTac on Friday afternoon of Oct. 19.
Tied at 3-3, the Rams were searching for a finishing kick to take victory to the house.
In the 76th minute, the well conceived passing attack provided forward Karli Yoshida-Willians the chance to knock home the lead goal for Mt. Rainier after an up ball.
Although the Conquerors remained dangerous, the Ram passing attack backed by a rejuvenated defense kept Kentwood on its heels for most of the remaining minutes.
MRHS (4-6-3 League) remained on the outskirts of post season eligibility. The Rams need to win their last two games and hope for some help.
Kentwood fell to 5-5-3 with a previous 3-0 defeat of Mt. Rainier included among the wins.
“The girls fought hard,” Mt. Rainier head coach Mike Fuchigami said. “It was a full 80 (minutes). They stayed focused as a team.”
Kentwood opened up with high intensity that MR eventually matched.
Spreading the field wide with forward attackers, the Conquerors tried to work through balls up the middle, finally striking with Kayla Rendon Bushmaker lofting a goal kick over the keeper from the left side in the 13th minute.
Sydney Shenk cleared in the middle for a wide open kick into goal one minute later and Kentwood extended its margin to a 2-0 lead while on the verge of throttling Mt. Rainier.
The Ram resistance force brought the fight back to the Conks with the same offensive strategy that Kentwood employed until midfielder Sophia Sullivan assisted Yoshida-Williams in the 17th minute to pull MR within 2-1.
Fighting hard from several positions, Allison Schacher talked about the defensive strategy.
“We had to defend the middle,” she said. “Kentwood had two players in the middle and we had to stop each player with a defender. Marking No. 22 (Lillian Randolph) was the assignment.”
Randolph led some good runs for the Conquerors, but Mt. Rainier had just enough blockage to hang on to the win.
The blue-clad Ram ladies displayed a strong surge of energy to keep their opponents on the defensive for several minutes.
Keeper Hannah Ziggler did her best to make diving saves and charges out of goal for the Rams until Rosie Young took a leading pass from Kayla Amadi and scored from close in on the right side to tie the match at 2-all in the 30th minute.
“We closed them down in the middle as quick as possible,” said midfielder Cierra Erickson about weathering the KW attacks. “Staying tight in the middle is what we needed to do.”
Six minutes before intermission, Shenk cleared the defense to send Kentwood into a 3-2 lead that held up until halftime.
By the match’s 43rd minute, the Conquerors from Kent were forcing the pace in a highly energetic game.
Regaining their composure, the Rams held on before exerting their offense once again.
In minute 56, Young assisted to Maci Parke for a 3-3 standoff as MRHS seized the momentum heading into the waning minutes of regulation en route to victory.
“Rosie was dribbling square with me and then I was wide open,” Parke said.
After falling behind 2-0, Young knew she and her teammates needed to get into high gear.
“We needed goals,” she said. “We’re best with short passes, so we were dinking the ball around until we could get through their middle. We passed well and maintained possession.”