In Washington and Pacific’s third matchup of the season, the result wasn’t much different than the first two.
The soccer Lady Jays (19-4) won the Class 3 District 9 semifinal matchup Monday, 5-2, ending Pacific’s (8-10) season.
Washington won both of the previous matchups by a score of 3-0.
The Lady Jays advanced to face Union in the district championship game Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Washington High School. It will be the first matchup of the year between the local rivals.
Washington Head Coach Adam Fischer was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We came out just a tad slow the first few minutes, but I felt like after Jena (Monehan) started making some runs outside for us that we woke up pretty quick.”
Pacific Head Coach Todd Dempsey credited the Lady Jays.
“Last night played out pretty similar to our first two meetings with Washington,” he said. “Washington was clearly the better team and there’s no shame in losing to a quality opponent. They’ve had a great season and were very deserving of that win.”
Washington got on the scoreboard early, as senior Cassidy Nurnberger put in her 22nd goal of the season on a penalty kick.
The Lady Indians felt they deserved a penalty kick of their own shortly after.
“We should’ve had the opportunity to tie the game up with a PK of our own after Caramia Fiedler got taken down in the box by (Washington goalie Katie) Baer,” he said. “Unfortunately, the officials chose not to make that call and I think everyone in the stadium knew that was a huge mistake. I’m not putting the blame on the officials for the outcome of the game, but that was a huge call to miss at a critical early stage of the game. It’s just frustrating to see the game taken out of the players’ hands that early.”
Washington took a 2-0 lead into halftime after Monehan’s fifth goal of the year.
The Lady Jays continued to build their advantage in the second half, as sophomore Caitlyn Vodnansky scored a hat trick to give Washington a 5-0 lead. Vodnansky increased her season goal total to seven.
“Jena, Cassidy and Caitlyn were dynamic making the right runs and passes tonight,” Fischer said.
Pacific was finally able to muster offense late.
Fiedler put in her seventh goal of the year, then freshman Mackenzie Arnold scored her first goal of the season.
“I was extremely proud of our girls,” Dempsey said. “Not many teams would keep battling after being down 5-0. Combine the heat with the big score deficit, and most teams would’ve called it a night.”
Fischer said his team took its foot off the gas pedal in the last 20 minutes of the game.
“Our defense played well the first 60 minutes, but when I took some starters out we were a little too sluggish in back and gave them some chances,” he said.
Baer earned the win in net for Washington. Baer made five saves and allowed a goal in 65 minutes.
Junior Mary Beth Reust played the final 15 minutes, making a save and allowing a goal.
Nurnberger finished with two assists, while Vodnansky and freshman Cierstyn Jacquin added one each.
Fischer said his team will have to be improved to defeat Union Wednesday.
“Overall it was a great first postseason game,” he said. “We will need to be better on Wednesday if we want a chance to win that night.”
Dempsey said he was sad to see the season end.
“It never gets any easier to say goodbye to the seniors,” he said. “In 15 years of coaching, you’d think that would become somewhat routine, but it’s always hard to look at their upset faces when the reality sets in. It’s something you never get used to, but I’m thankful for that. It reminds me just how important being a part of this is to them, as well as me. We forge some great relationships with kids year in and year out, and I’m incredibly lucky to play a small role in the memories they create.”