After falling to Bellingham 2-0 in the season opener, Marysville Getchell had reeled off four consecutive wins and none of them were even close. The Chargers had outscored opponents 18-1 in that span on their way to a first-place tie in the 3A Wesco North with crosstown rival Marysville Pilchuck.
Thursday night, the Chargers got a challenge from Terrace, but remained undefeated in league with a 2-1 victory. The close game was something coach Wayne Nash was seeking for his team.
"I wanted something like this," Nash said. "We needed a game where it was tough and that we had to battle through and overcome momentum swings. I knew (the Hawks) had some offense and that they were going to bring a really good game, so I'm glad to see that we can push through the momentum and pull out a win."
Mountlake Terrace controlled possession and was the aggressor early in the first half, although the Hawks failed to turn their control into legitimate scoring opportunities. The slow start for the Chargers seemed uncharacteristic of a team that hadn't scored less than four goals in any of their victories, but Nash said otherwise.
"It seems to be something that we're just trying to push through and work through is that we start slow," he said. "I think it's 'cause we have a lot of young people on the team -- we have a solid senior core, but it gets pretty young after that -- (and) they just need to learn that the game starts right at the first whistle and not slowly get into it."
The first real chance for either team to score came in the 23rd minute when Mountlake Terrace goalkeeper Amanda Aversano made a great save on a shot by Getchell senior Bailie Weikel. But it didn't take long for the Chargers to threaten again and the second time around they converted. Senior forward Kelsee Crenshaw got free for a shot that she fired passed Aversano to give the Chargers a 1-0 lead.
"She's irreplaceable," Nash said of Crenshaw. "For much of the first half she was taking on three or four girls. They were throwing numbers at her and she still was a threat. Having her, she's a game changer, one of those once in a lifetime type players that you get to have."
The Chargers took their one-goal lead into halftime and came out poised to add more in the second half. In the 52nd minute, Marysville Getchell freshman forward Lindsey Weikel's shot hit the crossbar and appeared to bounce backward for a goal, but officials let play continue to the dismay of many Charger fans. After the game, Nash said it appeared to be a goal to him as well.
Lindsey's sister, Bailie, made up for it a little more than six minutes later when she gave the Chargers a 2-0 lead in the 58th minute.
"Our offense is relentless," Nash said. "If (the opponent) lets down at all we just punish them. I've been blessed with a lot of offensive weapons this year. It's not just one or two players. We can score from anywhere."
Down by two goals, the Hawks pressed hard in the game's final 20 minutes and it paid off in the 70th minute with a goal from junior forward Lily Hart.
Hart's goal was just one of many opportunities the Hawks were able to produce as time ticked down.
"We've been working and focusing on trying to play hard for a full 80 minutes and we didn't do that tonight," Mountlake Terrace coach Evan Hatch said. "But we did for the last 20 and we looked like two different teams out there.
"I'm really proud of the way we played at the end and it's going to be our goal to do that for a full game."
Just a few minutes before Hart's goal it appeared the Hawks had got on the scoreboard when Maddie Kristjanson scored in front of the goal, but it was disallowed because numerous Mountlake Terrace players were offsides.
Though the Hawks pressed hard late, Chargers freshman goalkeeper Carley Wika turned away shot after shot like a seasoned veteran.
"We are lucky to have her," Nash said. "She is just solid all the way through. She actually started as field player for us, but was a goalkeeper in the past. With her athleticism and her desire to take everything to the next level, she has played phenomenal."
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
At Lynnwood H.S.
Goals--Kelsee Crenshaw (MG), Bailie Wiekel (MG), Lily Hart (MT). Assists--Gabriella Crenshaw (MG), Haydyn Wagner (MG), Riley Zucker (MT). Goalkeepers--Marysville Getchell: Carley Wika. Mountlake Terrace--Amanda Aversano. Records--Marysville Getchell 4-0-0 league, 5-1-0 overall; Mountlake Terrace 2-1-0, 4-1-0.
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