Cascade avenges loss

OAK HARBOR – The Cascade girls soccer team is not yet willing to pass the torch.

The Bruins avenged their only loss of the season on Tuesday night, beating Oak Harbor 3-0 on a sloppy, slippery Memorial Stadium field.

Though most of the bitter feelings of the Sept. 23, 2-0 loss to the Wildcats had worn away, the Bruins wanted the inside track to the Western Conference North Division title, which also means a potentially shorter road back to the state playoffs.

The two teams are tied atop the division standings with 22 points. Cascade (10-1-2) has one less loss, however, and could secure the top spot with victories over cellar-dwelling Stanwood and Arlington and perennial power Snohomish. Oak Harbor (10-2-2) needs victories over fourth-place Monroe and sixth-place Mount Vernon, along with a Cascade loss to force a tie.

Midfielder Soley Griesbach and forward Jessica Hughes each contributed a goal and an assists for the Bruins, who played in the 2002 Class 4A state championship match.

“We wanted so much to come back out and beat them,” Griesbach said. “Last time, when they beat us 2-0, we just didn’t come out ready to play. It wasn’t one of our best games.”

Tuesday may have been the Bruins’ top effort of the season. Oak Harbor entered Tuesday’s game having outscored its opponents 34-5. The Wildcats, who were unbeaten prior to Thursday’s 2-1 upset by Lake Stevens, out-shot Cascade 20-10. Cascade goalkeeper Brittany Gegax stopped nine Oak Harbor shots for her fifth consecutive shutout and eighth of the season.

“We were certainly fortunate to score three goals against Oak Harbor, a team that is good defensively, good through the midfield and puts a lot of pressure on you with their attack,” said Cascade coach Jamie Gay, whose team scored three goals in a game for only the third time this season. “We had a few chances, and we took advantage of the chances we had.”

On a muddy field featuring two strong defensive teams, Griesbach, among others, believed a scoreless tie might be in order. Those thoughts were washed away in the 16th minute, when the Wildcats’ hopes of a school-record 11th shutout were dashed.

Hughes, The Herald’s 2002 All-Area Player of the Year, set up the Bruins’ first shot of the day with a pass most quarterbacks couldn’t emulate. Hughes took control of the ball in the middle of the field, approximately 40 yards away from the Oak Harbor goal. She looped a pass to Kaily Thornlund, who was streaking down the right side. The ball landed in front of Thornlund, whose shot banged off the underside of the crossbar and into the net for a 1-0 Cascade lead.

“You stop and you hope and you wait,” said Hughes of watching her pass to Thornlund. “I was really glad that something you pass can be taken care of like that. I think that was the turning point of the game.”

The Bruins knew they couldn’t let up. Oak Harbor had scored in all but one match this season, including seven games of three or more goals.

Griesbach found a hole in the Wildcats’ defense when she took a free kick from just inside midfield after an Oak Harbor penalty. Hughes settled the ball in front of the goal and tapped it in for a 2-0 lead.

Griesbach decided she’d handle the third goal by herself. From 35 yards out, she drove a free kick over the Oak Harbor goalie.

“When I stepped up to take the free kick, I told myself it was going in,” said Griesbach, who has scored all four of her goals this season on free kicks.

Though the Bruins play their home games on the artificial turf of Everett Memorial Stadium, they are accustomed to the type of field that seems to have a hankering for soccer cleats.

“It’s been good for us the last couple of years to come up here and play,” said Gay, whose team practices on a grass field at Cascade. “We train on a very similar field. … It’s not foreign for us to play on this sort of stuff. This is exactly what our field was like yesterday, except it was pouring down rain.”

The rain has stopped, but the Cascade reign continues.

At Memorial Stadium, Oak Harbor

Goals-Cascade: Thornlund; Hughes; Griesbach. Assists: Hughes, Griesbach. Goalkeepers-Cascade: Gegax. Oak Harbor: Shulock, Paddock. Records-Cascade 10-1-2 in division and overall. Oak Harbor 10-2-2, 10-2-2.

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