By AARON SWANEY
EVERETT – Using an outstanding performance by goalkeeper Miranda Riley, Shorewood made two first-half goals stand up to beat Cascade 2-0 Wednesday night at Everett Memorial Stadium in a Wesco 4A girl’s soccer playoff game.
With the loss Cascade is eliminated from the playoffs, while Shorewood moves on to face the winner of tonight’s Inglemoor-Redmond game Saturday in the bi-district playoffs.
For Shorewood there was no doubt who the most valuable player on the field was Wednesday night. Riley, who made tremendous saves all night long, stopped two Cascade penalty kicks to single-handedly preserve the Thunderbirds victory.
“Miranda’s performance tonight was awesome,” said Shorewood coach Joe Hampson. “You just don’t see goalies make two penalty kick saves in one game.”
Ahead 2-0 going into the second half, Shorewood withstood a barrage of Bruin shots in the first four minutes of the half to keep its lead. Spearheaded by senior forward Natalie Hardin, the Bruins had three great opportunities to score, but were turned away each time by Riley.
“With a defense as good as Shorewood’s it’s difficult to find opportunities,” said Cascade coach Jamie Gay. “It’s even tougher to capitalize on them.”
Throughout the second half Cascade continued to attack the Shorewood goal, but each time the aggressive T-bird defenders would clear the ball and send the Bruins the other way.
Cascade’s best chance to score came with 12 minutes left in the game when Hardin was shoved down in the penalty box setting up a penalty kick. Hardin’s subsequent kick was stopped by Riley and the Bruins didn’t get another shot on goal the rest of the night.
The Shorewood defense owned the second half, but its offense was the key to victory.
A mere two minutes into the game Shorewood struck with little warning. Jumping on a Cascade defensive error, midfielder Kathryn Luenella chipped a shot into the back of the net to give Shorewood a 1-0 lead.
“Every game we come out and try and set the tone in the first five minutes of the game,” said Hampson. “It was nice to get that goal, especially against a team as good as Cascade.”
Twenty minutes into the game Cascade had a chance to tie the score on Kelsey Ray’s penalty kick, but Riley, diving to her right, snared the ball and kept Shorewood in the lead.
Minutes later Shorewood forward Nanda McCormick took a cross from Angela Wishaar, trapped the ball and banged it into the goal to give the T-birds a 2-0 lead.
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