Wildcats continue unbeaten string

For the first time this season, the Mount Si Wildcats girls' soccer team trailed in a match, but it didn't faze them at all as the Wildcats roared back and fought off a strong Sammamish squad 3-2 Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Sammamish High School.

The Totems scored first in the contest in the 12th minute and it wasn't until the 34th minute that Mount Si tied it, as Mariana Zanella made her much-anticipated season debut in a big way scoring the tying goal. Kirsten Mills and Amy Torget later added goals and despite a late Sammamish goal, the Wildcats held onto the victory.

Prior to last Tuesday's game, Mount Si had scored first in every game this season.

Last Thursday, Sept. 21, the Wildcats once again needed to rally from a deficit to grab another victory, this time against the Interlake Saints.

Zanella, Nikki Stanton and Jordyn Wilson scored goals as Mount Si rallied from a 1-0 second-half deficit to win 3-1.

Wildcat coach Darren Brown credited Interlake's preparation. "Hats off to Justin [Petersen, Saints' coach] and what he did. His game plan was brilliant. He packed the box on us. He played a 5-4-1 and they had one breakaway, the ball went over the top and it was a 1-B-1 situation. We had a bad read on it, but they took advantage of it. It was hard for us to connect because they had so many girls inside the box on us," Brown said. "It's good strategy."

What Brown was referring to was strong Interlake defense in the first half, which prevented the Wildcats from scoring despite numerous chances. The Saints broke the ice in the 44th minute of the second half as freshman Sarah Anderegg scored on a breakaway to put Interlake up 1-0. What the Saints didn't realize, though, is that their freshman had unintentionally woken up a sleeping giant.

In the course of the 20 minutes following Anderegg's goal, Mount Si scored their three goals. First was Stanton's in the 49th minute, a bleeder that narrowly crossed the goal line; Zanella's came next in the 57th minute, a header off a corner kick from Stanton, who was credited with an assist; then Wilson wrapped up the onslaught with a open shot that found the top left corner of the net. "Well, I just saw the ball free right in front and there's a lot of open space and I just looked at the goal and got my head up and [it] had the right spin and the right amount of power on it," Wilson said.

The Wildcats kept up the pressure the rest of the way and forced Interlake goalie Sara Ostlund to make a number of big stops to keep the game respectable.

"I think that we needed that [the Anderegg goal] to get us playing our game again and once that happened, we just totally kicked it up and played how we know we can play and stuck it to them," Zanella said.

This week looks to be a big week for Mount Si. After a Wednesday night home game against Newport (the game was moved up from Saturday), the Wildcats travel to Issaquah for what is expected to be a showdown between the top two teams in the league as Mount Si faces the Eagles.

Look for Zanella and Mills to lead the Wildcats' explosive, multifaceted offensive attack, which will be without Stanton for this contest. Issaquah also may not have junior Kate Deines, their best player, available either; both are members of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) and while Stanton is set to participate in ODP functions, as of last Friday it was not clear, according to Brown, whether Deines will do the same. That obligation could leave the bulk of Issaquah's scoring responsibilities to senior Lauren Maris. However, if Issaquah wants to protect their home turf against the Wildcats, with Mount Si's many offensive stalwarts, a veteran Eagles' defensive group led by senior Carly Atkins will have to step it up. The Eagles' defense has only allowed one goal thus far all season, but this Wildcat offense may be their toughest test.

Game times for both games will be 7:30 p.m.

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