Lady Tigers remain perfect on the season

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Stadium senior Katie Varela (5) tries to break away from Mt. Tahoma freshman Melinda Toy. Photo by Rocky Ross

If area soccer fans are beginning to feel a bit of déjà vu, it’s quite all right, they’re not losing their marbles. It was just a matter of months ago when the Stadium boys’ soccer team ran a remarkable 17-0 record into the state 3A soccer tournament. Sure, they got upset in the final seconds of overtime but it was such an incredible season.

Fast-forward just four months and now the Stadium girls are getting into the same undefeated mix.

After putting together an impressive 2-1 victory over an exceptional and previously undefeated Bonney Lake squad on Thursday, Sept. 21, the Lady Tigers found themselves all alone sitting atop the 3A Pierce County League standings at 4-0 in league play and 5-0 overall. Now, with Bonney Lake (4-1-0, 5-1-0), Bethel (3-1-1, 3-1-2) and Lakes (3-1-1, 3-2-1) all sitting within striking distance of the league leaders, it was time for Stadium to get down to business put a win on the board against a team they were heavily favored over.

The Mt. Tahoma girls entered their match against Stadium looking for their first win of the season. As a matter of fact, Mt. Tahoma was also looking for their first goal of the season after five straight shutouts to begin this fall campaign. It was a beautiful night at historic Stadium Bowl on Tuesday, Sept. 26, and the T-Birds showed up ready to put their best effort together against the Tigers. It seemed as though the stars were lined up a bit for the T-Birds to do something shocking.

While the scoreboard indicated a 7-0 Stadium victory after the end of the 80-minute game, much should be said about the heart and fire that the T-Birds displayed against the very-talented Tigers.

Stadium controlled the flow of the game for the first 10 minutes of play, never allowing the T-Birds within sniffing distance of their own goal. However, the next 10 minutes saw Mt. Tahoma swing the momentum a bit, as they gained more possessions and began edging into the Stadium half of the field. Despite their best efforts, the T-Birds gave up the first points of the match 17 minutes into the contest. After junior Alexis Lamb was hip-checked to the Stadium Bowl turf, Stadium was awarded a free kick from about 25-yards out. Sophomore Stella Schramm lined the ball up and slapped a bending, left-footer that seemed to duck just under the crossbar for a 1-0 Stadium advantage.

Mt. Tahoma had a chance to answer just three minutes later when sophomore Ellie Moore lined up her own 25-yard free kick toward the Tigers’ goal. Moore slapped a beautiful bending shot off her right foot that sailed mere inches above the Stadium crossbar. Stadium would have an answer just another three minutes later when Lamb gathered a pass from junior Jaime Hughes and deposited it into the left side of the T-Bird goal.

Despite a 2-0 lead, the momentum of the match was not fully in Stadium’s back pocket. The T-Birds kept pressing at every opportunity and had no problem matching the Tigers’ physical style of play. When the whistle sounded for halftime, it was still anyone’s game to win with Stadium holding their small 2-0 advantage.

Things would change in the second stanza, as Stadium made their adjustments and began working the ball into the far right corner of the T-Birds’ end. From that position, the Tigers were able to mount a string of scoring opportunities and despite some fantastic saves by junior goalkeeper Shyleah Mahone, Stadium began finding the back of the net.

Stadium junior Monique Nagel made it 3-0 eight minutes into the second half. Nagel would then feed a pass to junior Makenzie Burks three minutes later to make it 4-0. The Tigers kept on blasting away and hit paydirt again five minutes later with another score by Burks to make it 5-0 just 16 minutes into the second half. Goals by freshman Ella Nadeau and junior Kailey Hall closed out the night’s scoring for the 7-0 victory.

The undefeated Tigers next three matches will put them to the test, and could go a long way in deciding whether they can keep their claws sunk into the PCL’s top spot or not. Stadium (5-0-0, 6-0-0) hosts rival Wilson (2-3-0) on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 7:15 p.m. Stadium will then travel to face Bethel on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m. Lakes will then host the Tigers on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m.

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