By Ray Hamill — The Little 4 championship in girls soccer looks likely to go down to the final day of the regular season, but St. Bernard’s took a big step toward securing the pennant on Thursday.
Playing Ferndale at Crusader Field, the St. Bernard’s girls scored a pair of late goals to secure a 2-0 win and break a deadlock at the top of the standings.
Both championship contenders have three games remaining each, including a showdown in Ferndale on the final day.
“It was an evenly played match throughout the first half but I think our girls took it up a notch in the second half to secure the win and put constant pressure on Ferndale’s defense,” St. Bernard’s head coach Brian Finck said.
The goals came in the midst of a period of sustained pressure and were well deserved.
Both were scored on set pieces, the first coming 14 minutes from time off a Madelyn Shanahan corner kick that a well-positioned Eliana Sellars volleyed into the back of the net.
The standout sophomore has established herself as a key player for the Crusaders and enjoyed an outstanding game, including the decisive finish.
Less than 10 minutes later Sahara Tupua made certain of the points after heading home off a nice delivery into the box from senior Hannah Finck’s free kick near midfield.
An injury to goalkeeper Tinnley Pidgeon in their last game didn’t help the visitors, who had to reshuffle their back line when stopper Michaela Ellsmore was forced to take over between the posts, where she played well.
“Honestly, I thought we had a great first half,” Ferndale head coach Bailey Davy said. “We had a lot of opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize on them.”
Check out the two St. Bernard’s goals below …
The loss was the first for the Wildcats in league play, but they remain well in the hunt for the league title.
The Crusaders improved to 5-0-1 in league play, while the Cats are now 4-1-1.
Next up, on Tuesday, the Crusaders host South Fork and the Wildcats play at Del Norte.