Soccer: Cruisers topple league-leading Montesano

Eatonville goalkeeper Nate Goode soars above the pack to secure a shot on goal from Montesano.

Eatonville goalkeeper Nate Goode soars above the pack to secure a shot on goal from Montesano.
Heather Quirie

After a disappointing loss to Raymond/South Bend, ending their impressive four-game winning streak, the Cruisers bounced back, securing three crucial victories in 1A Evergreen League boys soccer action. Their triumphant journey began on April 8 as they hosted the Elma Eagles.

The game started ominously for Eatonville as a defensive lapse allowed Elma to seize an early lead. However, displaying the trademark resilience that defines their team, the Cruisers quickly adapted, reshaping their formations to nullify their opponents' threats. Bennett Cole's precise free kick found Ignacio Sanz, whose finish restored parity to the scoreline.

As the game progressed, Eatonville's relentless pressure paid dividends, with Victor Pena capitalizing on a defensive mix-up to level the score once more. The contest ebbed and flowed, with both teams refusing to concede defeat. With the final whistle blowing and the scores deadlocked, the match entered a nerve-wracking overtime period.

Tensions soared as both teams fought tooth and nail for victory. In the dying seconds of overtime, Trent Cressman's heroic slide tackle denied Elma a last-gasp chance, forcing the game into a dramatic penalty shootout. Goalkeeper Nate Goode emerged as the hero, making crucial saves to secure a thrilling 4-3 shootout win for the Cruisers.

Buoyed by their hard-fought victory, Eatonville faced their toughest challenge yet on April 10, as they welcomed the league-leading Montesano Bulldogs to town. Determined to avenge their earlier defeat, the Cruisers came out with guns blazing.

The game burst into life as Trent Cressman calmly converted a penalty kick, giving Eatonville an early advantage. Their relentless pressure yielded dividends once more, with Austen Quirie tapping in a delightful cross from Bennett Cole to double the lead before halftime at 2-0.

However, Montesano refused to go down without a fight, clawing their way back into the game with two scrappy goals in the second half. Despite the Bulldogs' resurgence, Eatonville's defense held firm, thanks in large part to the heroics of goalkeeper Nate Goode.

As the game entered sudden death overtime, tensions reached fever pitch. It was then that freshman Nathan Christensen etched his name into Cruisers folklore with a stunning long-range 25-yard strike, securing a memorable victory and sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

Riding high on their wave of momentum, Eatonville rounded off the week with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Forks Spartans. 

In a closely contested first half, the Cruisers secured a goal when Ignacio Sanz skillfully slotted the ball into the far post after executing a remarkable cut that left his defender trailing to take a 1-0 lead into the half. 

In the second half, Forks would find the back of the net and score the equalizer early. Despite maintaining the share of the possessions, the Cruisers struggled to find the decisive pass to penetrate the Spartan defense. 

With just four minutes remaining in the match, Eatonville executed an impressive triangle possession play involving multiple players, culminating in a layback pass to Trent Cressman, who unleashed a powerful shot from 30 yards out, beating the goalkeeper and finding the upper left corner of the net for the 2-1 victory.

With three consecutive wins, the Cruisers find themselves locked in a battle for second place in the league standings, tied with Raymond/South Bend.

Eatonville will honor their seniors in their final regular season home match on April 15 when they host the Hoquiam Grizzlies, before heading out on the road for matches against Ilwaco on April 17 and Tenino on April 19.


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