BELLINGHAM – In a match-up of league champions, Cedarcrest’s girls picked the perfect time to score after they made their own call on a trick play. Meanwhile, Bellingham was forced to contend with three concussions and a sprained ankle against an aggressive, alert opponent.
The upshot was a 2-1 win for the Red Wolves (13-1-3) in the semifinals of the Class 2A Northwest District Tournament on Tuesday at Civic Stadium, clinching their first state tournament spot since 2011.
The Red Raiders (13-3-1), however, are still in the hunt for their first state berth since 2013. They will play a winner-to-state elimination game Thursday night on the Sedro-Woolley pitch against Archbishop Murphy, a 6-0 winner over Lakewood.
After a scoreless first half, the Red Wolves set the tone two minutes into the second half.
For only the second time this season, Cedarcrest turned a free kick into a short assist, with Sarah Hommas scoring on the surprise play.
The Red Wolves made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute when Brooke Benson powered a mighty 22-yard shot just below the bar for a classic goal.
Four minutes later, Red Raiders junior Eden Fawcett also turned in a superb shot when she converted on a 25-yard power attempt. Bellingham had four more scoring opportunities but could not convert.
Fawcett’s goal spoiled what would have been Cedarcrest’s 13th shutout. It was only the fifth goal all season against the Cascade Conference champion Red Wolves, who have not allowed more than one goal in a game.
Bellingham goalie Britney Butcher made six saves and Cedarcrest counterpart Dakota Barnes stopped five Raider shots. Both keepers turned in sterling efforts.
‘I LET THEM CALL IT’
“That was a purposeful set piece,” Cedarcrest coach Alex Hickox said of the all-important first goal. “I leave it up to the players to make that call. You can only run that play once in a game.”
The play was a stunning blow to the Red Raiders’ hopes.
“We had just sent three substitutes into the game,” Bellingham coach Jared Fields said. “Cedarcrest played well and we didn’t bring our best effort.”
‘BELLINGHAM REAL GOOD’
“Bellingham is real good,” Hickox said. “We may see them again at state.”
The Red Raiders’ senior leader, Peyton Schwinger, played only about half the first 40 minutes before being forced out with a concussion. She hopes to be cleared in time to help give Bellingham a better shot at state Thursday.
None of the Raiders have ever played in a state game, which Fields hopes will provide added motivation for a great comeback effort.