At halftime, Ferndale’s girls’ soccer team sat in the locker room tied 0-0 with Mountlake Terrace in a Class 3A Northwest District Tournament first-round game.
The Golden Eagles had dominated the first half. The shots on goal totals — 4-1 in favor of Ferndale — didn’t even give the whole picture. It was the Golden Eagles’ game and the No. 5-seeded Hawks were only playing in it.
But the score remained tied and Ferndale was sitting one mistake away from falling. The fourth-seeded Golden Eagles weren’t worried though.
“At halftime, we talked about it,” Ferndale coach Joe Gonzalez said. “We knew we were the better team today, and we just played with confidence, kept in the game, kept our heads right and did what we practiced all week long to play a game against this team. I’m proud of them.”
The second half was more of the same Ferndale domination, rolling the shots on goal totals to 12-3.
In the 51st minute, the Golden Eagles finally broke through.
Kylie Larmer got the ball in the middle of the field about 30 yards out, flipped it over the defense to a hard-charging Jazlynn Ahrens, who sprinted down the left side of the penalty area before driving the ball near the touchline.
In just one touch with her left foot, Ahrens sent a perfect cross directly to Jordin Bartel’s head, and Bartel, in her typical fashion, placed it right into the net from two yards out.
“The first goal was just absolutely brilliant,” Gonzalez said.
The left-footed Ahrens had just entered the game on the left wing and with fresh legs was able to run down Larmer’s pass just in the nick of time.
“(Ahrens) just really brought something. She was hungry,” Gonzalez said. “She really fought for that ball down the touchline and ripped it in. Boy, Jordin sure did put a finish on it. That really changed the momentum for us.”
After that, Ferndale certainly came into its own.
Without the worry of having to put one in the net, the Golden Eagles’ direct attack suddenly turned into a possession game.
“It was a relief,” Bartel said. “After we scored that one goal, it was like we could settle down and just play.”
In the 68th minute, the Golden Eagles put another one on the board.
Of course it was Bartel again. A through ball left Bartel with nobody but the goalkeeper to beat, as the lengthy forward sprinted down the field. She put it past the keeper with no worries and gave Ferndale an insurance goal.
It was Bartel’s 21st goal of the season.
With the scoreboard finally showing a score that reflected how the game went, Ferndale was left with a valuable lesson — patience — a lesson they seemingly already had.
“Our motto is to never put our heads down, always be positive,” Gonzalez said. “We know that if the process is right, it will come. ... We kept at it, kept at it and it came finally. It was nice to see it happen.”
The Golden Eagles also had to persevere through a very physical game that featured 25 fouls between the two squads. The physicality often was started by Mountlake Terrace, but Ferndale certainly escalated it throughout the game.
“For me, it’s not that hard,” Bartel said. “Myself, I’m a very physical player. I like playing against physical teams like that.”
And no matter what, Gonzalez knows his team has the ability to push through. Why?
“We are Ferndale,” Gonzalez said with a pump of his fist.
The Golden Eagles move into the semifinals, where they will face top-seed Edmonds-Woodway on Tuesday, Nov. 4, at Arlington High School.
Ferndale 2, Mountlake Terrace 0