Miranda Rawlings was under pressure. The Islanders were doubling up on Mount Si’s star forward. Someone had to step up. Cue Kelsey Lindor.
Lindor, a junior midfielder, was the spearhead of a strong Mount Si attack that got rolling in the second half of a Tuesday, Oct. 23, away game with Mercer Island.
Lindor scored both goals on the night, thanks to smart feeds from Sophia Rouches and Camryn Buck and some skilled work by Rawlings.
The first half was scoreless until Mercer managed to slip a shot into the Mount Si net around the 35th minute. That’s how things stayed until about 20 minutes into the second half, when Mount Si players keeping consistent pressure on the Mercer net found their chance.
Amid a scrum, Rouches kicked to Lindor, who touched it in.
“Sophia did the work for me,” Lindor said. “I was in the right place at the right time.”
A few minutes later, Buck, a defensive back for the Wildcats, played the ball to Lindor during an overlapping run. Lindor took it up behind for a lethal shot.
“She’s been a good part of the team,” Lindor credited the Buck, who has started on varsity from early this season.
“That kid is tougher than nails,” said Mount Si head coach Darren Brown. “She’s just a stud. I don’t know how else to describe her.”
With Mount Si seeking some revenge from a tough loss to Mercer a few weeks ago, “we had to win,” Lindor said.
“It was their senior night, and we knew they were going to be pumped,” she said. “So we had to come at them hard.”
Buck focused on playing hard, while Rawlings played through the pressure, keeping the ball in motion despite heavy, physical pressure from Islander defenders.
The senior had to turn the ball quickly, “because there was always a man on my back, one covering.” Cool under fire, Rawlings patiently played through the pressure.
“We came out strong, and passed around,” Rawlings said. “People stepped up… kept pressure. We were winning the 50/50 balls.”
“We’re starting to play better as a team,” said goalkeeper Lauren Solene, who has held down the Mount Si goal this season.
Nursing her shoulder following the match after diving for a ball, Solene was credited by teammate Rouches for several “amazing saves that really saved us.”
When Solene goes into action, “I zone in on the ball, focus,” the junior says. She credited Kristen Kassel for keeping the balls outside.
“We knew we were the better team,” Rouches said. For the rematch, “We knew their style of play,” she added. “That helped them not get opportunities. We just finished it.”
Mount Si is so far going very strong in the second half of the season; as of last week, they had five wins, no losses and two ties, tied for second in league with Mercer Island.
“The girls are playing now with a drive. They’re on a mission,” the coach said. “They’re in with both feet. They know what they’ve got to do.”
Last Tuesday’s game followed a trend that coaches love to see: A struggle in the first half transformed into a correction and improvement in the second.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Brown said. “We’ve just got to keep it going.”
Against Liberty, Rawlings managed a hat trick against Liberty, allowing the Wildcats to tie it with the league leader.
Rawlings is the KingCo player of the year, and, with Lindor, is on the all-KingCo first team. Alyssa Proudfoor is a second-team defender, and KK Wallace, Claire Johnson, Claire Larsen and Camryn Buck are honorably mentioned. Mount Si received the league sportsmanship award.
• The Kingco tournament continues through Thursday, Nov. 2.
Mount Si plays Interlake at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Mercer Island.
Follow the team here.