The Montesano High School boys soccer team came down with a case of the Mondays against Tenino.
When the two teams met for the second time this season back on April 4, it would take a shootout for Monte to come away with a win. When the Bulldogs (7-6, 5-4) and Beavers met on Monday, the contest came down to a shootout once more, but this time it would be Tenino who emerged victorious 0-0 (3-1).
“I don’t know if it was just Monday, but warming up the guys did not look ready,” coach Mike Malpass said. “We called them in twice and said ‘Wake up. What is going on? You are not yourselves.’ They just couldn’t get it going. Sometimes you have off nights.”
The off night began from the opening whistle for Monte. The Bulldogs didn’t begin the game with the same energy they have shown all season and it took solid defense and a few nerve-wracking saves by Monte goalie Jeff Varness to keep the game scoreless at halftime.
Despite the pleading of Malpass at halftime for more offensive pressure, the Bulldogs didn’t have a shot on goal until the 62nd minute.
“I told them at halftime that we were lucky to be coming in 0-0 and to take advantage of that,” Malpass said. “They did that on defense and didn’t give away any opportunities in the second half to Tenino, but you’ve got to score to win.”
Montesano had plenty of opportunities in the first five minutes of overtime as the Tenino goalie misplayed a crossing ball on two seperate occasions, but on both chances none of the Bulldogs were able to put a foot on the ball.
The offensive troubles followed Monte into the shootout as the first penatly kick by David Sawyer flew over the goal and the next two kicks by Brandon Lovell and Varness were blocked by the Tenino goalie. While the Bulldogs couldn’t get the ball in the net, the Beavers converted the first two kicks before hitting the crossbar on the third kick. Monte had a glimmer of hope left as Varness blocked the fourth attempt by Tenino and Monte’s Nolan Walker sunk his kick in the back of the net, but Varness guessed wrong on the final attempt as he lept to his left and watched the ball fly over his right shoulder.
The match was the third that has gone to a shootout for Montesano this season, but this was the first shootout loss for the Bulldogs this season. It was the first league win for Tenino.
The loss was bit of a setback for a team that had hoped to put itself securely in the race for a Evergreen 1A championship after beating rival Elma 3-0 on April 24. Monte is currently in third place in the league a half game behind Hoquiam and one game ahead of Rochester, but the Bulldogs control their own destiny with a game each against the other three teams in the top four in Evergreen 1A league, including a matchup against first-place Elma on May 8. Monte will play at Hoquiam at 5 p.m. on Friday. The last meeting between the Bulldogs and Grizzlies ended in a shootout win for Monte.
“The best teams in the best leagues in the world have an off night and we are entitled to an off night,” Malpass said. “This is the worst night we have played collectively. We are going to come back up tomorrow with our heads up and regroup for this week and get ready for our game Friday.”