By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
BELLINGHAM — The Archbishop Murphy and Bellingham girls soccer teams met for third time in 15 days on Saturday.
The Wildcats won the previous two, but when it counted most in the state quarterfinals, the Red Raiders got their revenge, beating Archbishop Murphy 1-0 at Civic Stadium to punch their ticket to the 2A state tournament’s final four.
“I think we had a great opportunity here and it got away from us,” said Archbishop Murphy head coach Michael Bartley.
After a scoreless first half, Bellingham finally cashed in on a scoring opportunity. Brooke Baker took a crossed header from Mary Dyrland and kicked it past Archbishop Murphy goalkeeper Natalie Robinson.
“All three games came down to whoever could convert a chance. Both goals that we got in our two wins were just like that (Bellingham’s goal),” Bartley said, referring to Murphy’s two 1-0 wins over Bellingham in the district tournament. “We were on the good end of those and tonight they got one. We knew it would be a one-goal game and they got it.”
Archbishop Murphy’s defense, which earned a pair of shutouts over the Bellingham in the previous two meetings, was stellar again. Along with Robinson’s strong play in goal, the back four of Brooke Richardson, Camilla Holeman, Melissa Rivera and Jenna Martin kept the Red Raiders out of the goal for 57 minutes once again Saturday with hustle and grit.
Archbishop Murphy sorely missed leading scorer Cali Crisler, who injured her wrist in the second game against Bellingham last Saturday. Without Crisler, Murphy’s offense could never quite get untracked.
“I thought we actually played defense very well, but we just couldn’t link up any passes in the attacking third (of the field),” Bartley said. “We just couldn’t find that last pass. We knew they’d come with a tough game-plan.”
The Wildcats ended their season 20-2 with the two losses coming in just the past two weeks.
“It was a great season: 20 wins, playing for the final four, we won our league,” Bartley said.
At Civic Stadium
Goals—Brooke Baker (B). Assists—Mary Dyrland (B). Goalkeepers—Archbishop Murphy: Natalie Robinson. Bellingham: Hannah Jacobus. Records—Archbishop Murphy 20-2 overall. Bellingham 12-6-5.