Westview gets a leg up in the league race by beating Southridge 2-1
by: JOHN LARIVIERE, IN MOTION — Southridge midfielder Ana Montoya (left) eludes Westview's Jesi Wichershiem during Westview 2-1 victory over Southridge.

ROCK CREEK - Many coaches figured health would play a big factor in what should be a highly competitive Metro League girls soccer season.

And it certainly has so far, as evidenced by Westview's 2-1 victory over Southridge on Monday at Westview High School. The Wildcats recovered from last Thursday's 3-2 loss to Beaverton by beating the Skyhawks for sole possession of second place in the league standings at 2-1-0. Southridge is in a three-way tie for third at 1-1-1.

In the loss to Beaverton, Westview played most of the game without all-league forward Jenna Krogh, who banged her head in a collision in the game's second minute. Krogh returned to play 20 minutes Monday, but it was the Skyhawks who competed without some key players.

Southridge defender Bri Moore left the game with a stomach illness early in the first half. Goalkeeper Jeni Picken exited in the 27th minute after a collision left a welt above her right eye that required stitches. Standout midfielder Alex Earl saw her first action of the season after breaking her ankle in the offseason. She took the field in the 53rd minute only to re-injure the same ankle five minutes later and was helped to the sidelines with a possible re-break.

'It's hard for us to get a rhythm going with the injuries and things of that nature,' Southridge coach Jeff Lim said. 'It's stuff we're dealing with. We just have to find a way to make it through and still be playoff bound.'

The Wildcats took advantage of Southridge's setbacks, scoring two goals in the second half to break a scoreless halftime tie and reestablish themselves after Thursday's slipup dropped Westview from No. 3 to a sixth-place tie in the coaches poll.

'We definitely dominated and felt it should've been more than 2-1,' said sophomore midfielder Mo Fitzgerald, who scored the Wildcats' second goal. 'We really wanted to step it up. We connected more and played more as a team.'

Westview scored its first goal 9 minutes, 35 seconds into the second half. Junior defender Brooke Cole scored for the second straight game when her free kick from 35 yards out went off the leaping keeper's hands and into the net in the top-left corner of the goal.

'I just look, shoot and fire,' Cole said. 'I aim high and it just keeps on going.'

Southridge nearly the knotted the score moments later when sophomore forward Kelsey Hones' nice cross was covered by sliding Westview goalkeeper Erin Bochnak.

The Wildcats got a little breathing room in the 62nd minute with their second goal. Krogh's shot from close range on the left side banged off the corner of the left post and bounced out to Fitzgerald, who quickly fired a shot from 18 yards out into the top-left corner of the goal for a 2-0 Westview lead.

'That whole time was kind of unconscious,' Fitzgerald said. 'It was more reaction than anything. I just hit it toward the goal and the keeper was out of position.'

The Wildcats nearly expanded the lead mere seconds later when Fitzgerald booted another shot off the crossbar.

'We played a better position game and played a lot quicker,' Westview coach Chris Martin said.

Still, Southridge gave itself a chance when Hones took a pass from Ana Montoya deep inside the right side of the box and fired a shot across the mouth of the goal that found the net on the left side to make it 2-1 with 9:19 remaining.

Three minutes later, the Skyhawks threatened when sophomore midfielder Kinsey Bagwell sent a long pass to a sprinting junior forward Megan Rupp. But Bochnak raced in for a sliding stop near the top of the 18-yard box.

In the 36th minute, Rupp fired a hard shot that banged off a defender, but the Skyhawks wouldn't threaten again.

'We needed to step back and play defense and make sure we got our clears out,' Cole said. 'We just wanted to clear it out and get it to the forwards because they had been doing good.'

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