FERNDALE - Meridian forward Taylor Lunde's surgically-repaired left ankle found a divot early in the Trojans' Northwest Conference match with Ferndale.
She grimaced in pain and slowly made her way back to Meridian's bench in what looked to be the end of her day.
"This is my bad ankle. I have torn ligaments in it before, so when I fall, the bone slips out," Lunde said. "At first, it (was) a really sharp pain."
The senior captain returned - wrapped left ankle and all - to score two second-half goals and lead the Trojans past Ferndale 3-1 on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Ferndale.
"She said, 'Hey, I am fine. I want to go back in,'" said Meridian coach Andrea Ames of her senior forward. "She did a fantastic job finishing today. That is what you expect of your senior captain."
And while Lunde provided the offensive punch to lift the Trojans (10-1-1, NWC 6-1-1) past a physical Golden Eagles (6-4-2, 5-3-1) squad, it was anything but an individual effort.
Kendra Holmes scored the Trojans' first goal in the 31st minute. Up until that point, Meridian struggled getting any significant pressure against Ferndale's back line, but Holmes was able to outrun her defender down the right sideline off an over-the-top pass from Janessa Murphy.
Holmes beat Ferndale keeper Linsey Honeycutt with a shot along the right post.
Despite producing other opportunities, Meridian entered halftime holding a 1-0 lead - a lead Ames told her team wasn't enough.
"We just said at halftime, we can't be OK with 1-0," Ames said. "The game was close. ... We just said that we have to make sure we put a couple more in the back of the net to really make sure we had the opportunity to win the game."
Lunde's first goal came two minutes into the second half off a feed from her sister, Payton Lunde. After receiving the pass just outside the keepers' box in the center of the field, Taylor Lunde planted and lofted a shot just beyond the reach of Honeycutt. It was with her bad ankle.
The sudden goal came after Ames pointed out that her team had yet to challenge Honeycutt from any sense of distance, Taylor Lunde said.
"I took a touch, and I saw that (Honeycutt) was kind of out, and nobody was on me, so I turned and shot it," Taylor Lunde said. "It gave us a nice cushion."
Ferndale coach Joe Gonzalez had done his best to rally his team at halftime, telling them that "the game was theirs if they wanted it."
Following the goal putting the Trojans up by two, much of the field went quiet, and any momentum Ferndale had conjured at halftime quickly turned to Meridian. Taylor Lunde's second goal, which came six minutes later off of Murphy's second assist of the match, didn't do much to help the Golden Eagles' comeback bid, either.
"Ferndale is a good team," Ames said. "This was a good battle - a good test for us."
Jordin Bartel scored the Golden Eagles' lone goal off an assist from Anna Zwade in the 60th minute. Zwade chased down and fought for the ball along the backline before centering it to a waiting Bartel, who placed it into the right corner past Meridian keeper Sydney Gospodinovich.
Not lost in the win for Meridian was the play of Murphy. While not recording a goal, Murphy's presence as a passer led to two goals, both which came off spot-on passes.
"The thing for her today was confidence," Ames said. "She is such a good player. When she is feeling confident, she is really tough to stop.
"When she plays that way, good luck defending her."
Taylor Lunde, who was a beneficiary of a long cross from Murphy that led to her second goal, noticed the same thing.
"She is like my mini-me," Taylor Lunde said of Murphy. "If I am on one side and she is on the other, we both have a feel for where each other (is)."
MERIDIAN 3, FERNDALE 1
Goal: Kendra Holmes (Meridian), assist Janessa Murphy: time: 31:00; Goal: Taylor Lunde (Meridian), assist Payton Lunde: time: 42:00; Goal: Taylor Lunde (Meridian), assist Janessa Murphy: time: 48:00; Goal: Jordin Bartel (Ferndale), assist Anna Zwabe: time: 60:00. Shots on goal: Meridian 13; Ferndale 8. Goalies (saves) Meridian: Sydney Gospodinovich (5); Ferndale: Linsey Honeycutt (7).