Fitting finish for Vikings, Gauchos

Montgomery's Katie Woodrum, left, and Casa Grande's Cierra Iribarne look to the ball during the game held at Casa Grande High School, Friday, Aug. 27, 2010. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

GIRLS’ SOCCER: MONTGOMERY 2, CASA GRANDE 2, 2OT

Top North Coast girls’ teams play to draw after two overtimes

By MICHAEL COIT

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A frantic finish produced a pair of goals in the final two minutes of the second overtime as Casa Grande and Montgomery tied 2-2 Friday in a battle befitting the North Coast’s top girls’ soccer teams.

Montgomery appeared headed to their fourth straight win over Casa Grande after Kareli Rodriguez broke free and served a long pass to Alyssa Anderson for her second goal of the game.

Then with just seconds to play, Casa Grande gained possession of a loose ball and Cierra Iribarne poked the ball in for the game tying score, sending both teams home exhausted knowing they played a strong early season match.

“I made a bet with my dad, two goals this game,” Anderson said. “We just have to try harder next time. Our goal is to get closer as a team and build up from this game.”

The draw with Montgomery showed that Casa Grande should be right there again competing for a North Coast Section title after losing to the Vikings last season, said Noelle Laprevotte, who had the game’s first score. Casa Grande defeated Montgomery in the 2008 and 2007 NCS large school finals.

“Everyone gets pumped up before this game,” she said. “When it comes down to the line we just pull it together.”

Attacking soccer is the style both teams play and the game featured a lot of deep runs and shots with some sharp goalkeeping — and a bit of good fortune — to keep the game close.

Both teams missed hard shots off the crossbar early in the first half before Casa Grande scored first.

With the Gauchos controlling early on long serves and one-time passes, Laprevotte banged in a shot from the left side after taking a quick pass off the right from Jordyn Enes.

The score seemed to light a fire under Montgomery. Keeping possession through the midfield with often crisp passing and working into open space, the Vikings had a string of chances.

A long ball on the left side to Anderson yielded the equalizer. The speedster tracked down the ball, spun and fired a 30 yard shot into the top right hand corner of the net.

“That’s as good of a shot as you’re going to see,” said Montgomery coach Pat McDonald.

Montgomery should have gone up minutes later on a penalty kick. But the Gauchos goalie, Emily Sewall, made an amazing stop leaping to her left to block the attempt and then scrambled to block a shot off the rebound.

In her first year as a starter, Sewall was yet another player to make a big play in this rivalry, said Casa Grande coach Vinnie Cortezzo.

“It’s always kind of a big one. This is for early bragging rights,” he said. “It’s been pretty even. Both teams have a lot of talent.”

Both teams displayed choppy, inconsistent play early in the second half, but soon warmed to an exciting pace that left players tired and tugging the bottoms of their jerseys.

The Vikings catalysts on offense were Rodriguez, Anderson and Kelly Schnur. For the Gauchos, Nicole Beecham joined Enes, Iribarne and Laprevotte in mounting attacks.

Defensive stalwarts were Christin Chalmers, Amy Mitchell and Chelsea Frostick for Montgomery, and Taylor Derby and Becca Yim for Casa Grande.

The players understand that this game is a measure of how good they can be, as reflected in the spirit of play.

“It gets back to why you play the game. You play to compete and see how good you are,” McDonald said. “There’s a lot of mutual respect between both teams and we love playing them.”

That the teams finished deadlocked was fitting, Cortezzo said.

“I feel like we deserved a tie,” he said. “Every time we play it’s like this.”