How quickly did the Red Raiders want to prove they deserved to make all the players’ first appearance in the Class 2A state girls soccer tournament?
This quick: Three goals in the first six minutes of Bellingham’s 5-3 win over Archbishop Murphy in a winner-to-state elimination game in the 2A Bi-District Tournament Thursday night at Sedro-Woolley.
In the wake of Bellingham’s 2-1 loss to Cedarcrest two nights earlier in a winner-to-state semifinal, two senior strikers scored all five goals to give Bellingham a 5-1 advantage.
Allison Krell, a senior midfielder with great speed and even greater work rate, scored the first hat trick of the third-year starter’s Bellingham career. Peyton Schwinger, an inspirational senior team leader who missed most of the previous game with a concussion, returned with an obvious intensity and scored twice in the first half.
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The match-up wasn’t nearly as competitive as the score might indicate. The Wildcats (11-5-3) scored their final two goals against the Northwest Conference champion Raiders (14-3-2) in the last three minutes.
“This was definitely our most complete game of the season,” said first-year coach Jared Fields, formerly a longtime assist coach for the girls.
“We believe in him and we wanted to make him proud,” said Krell, who seemingly could not have played harder.
Backline defender Lucy Mantha also turned in an outstanding effort. The last time she saw the Raiders go to state, they were in eighth grade.
Mantha received outstanding defensive help from fellow backline starters Tessa Perry, Elizabeth Lewis-Clarke, Melissa Burke-Manwaring and freshman Alexa Mee.
The goal blitz
Schwinger scored on a rebound in the fourth minute for Bellingham’s first goal. In the next two minutes, Krell scored twice, seemingly impossible for Archbishop’s to keep up with.
Archbishop’s Lexie Klaudt scored in the 16th minute for the Wildcats’ first shot on Bellingham goalie Mia Ludwig. Less than a minute later, Schwinger scored on another rebound to make it 4-1.
Krell capped her biggest day with a goal in the 58th minute, removing all doubt at 5-1.
“This literally means everything,” Schwinger said, referring to the entire team but especially for four previously frustrated seniors. “It’s hard to believe.”
Eden Fawcett, Jillian Langei and Jaden Stevenson were among the other standouts as the Raiders outshot the Wildcats 11-5 in the first half.
Bellingham goalie corrected Nov. 3, 2017.