Montgomery girls win state soccer opener 4-0

The Montgomery High School girls soccer team’s successful season will keep rolling on after a convincing 4-0 victory over Menlo Park High School in the first round of the state NorCal tournament Tuesday at Santa Rosa High School.

The second-seeded Vikings (19-3-3 overall, 10-1-1 North Bay League-Oak Division) earned home-field advantage in the state tournament after winning the North Coast Section Division 2 title, defeating Livermore 4-2 in the championship game.

The Vikings were on a ?10-game winning streak entering Tuesday’s state opener even as they’ve had to play their “home” games at other sites while the Montgomery soccer/football field is being replaced.

The sixth-seeded Knights ?(20-2-2 overall, 8-0-2 West Bay Athletic League) also entered the NorCal tournament as section champions and hadn’t lost a match in their last 18 games, going 16-0-2 in that stretch.

But one team’s season had to come to an end in Tuesday’s Division II contest, and from the first whistle the Vikings were determined to not let it be them.

“We didn’t know what to expect; we’ve never seen them and didn’t know much about them,” Montgomery coach Pat McDonald said of the Menlo Park team. “We’d heard they were solid up and down the lineup, and they were - there wasn’t any weak link on their team.”

After a highly contested first half in the pouring rain, the Vikings were up 1-0 before putting their stamp on the game in the second half, scoring three more goals.

The Vikings started the game strong, controlling the possession and had several good looks on offense but were unable to convert any into goals.

Midway through the first half, Menlo started to play more aggressively and the game became a battle for possession at the middle of the field.

The Eagles had a few chances to score in the first, but the Vikings’ stingy defense shut down all of them before the ball reached their goalkeeper.

With 14 minutes left in the half, Montgomery freshman Angelica Barragan scored to take the 1-0 lead. After Menlo goalkeeper Talia Grossman stopped an aggressive attack from the Vikings, she was left on the ground, and Barragan was able to control the ball and lob it over the remainder defenders into the corner of the empty net.

“That first goal got us going - the ball bounced around and Barragan did great; she was calm and that beautiful finish kind of settled us down and then we said, ‘OK, great, we got the lead,’” McDonald said.

The Vikings were relentless on offense to start the second half. About six minutes in, Abria Brooker scored on a breakaway goal, assisted by Barragan, to put Montgomery up 2-0.

For the next 14 minutes both teams battled to maintain possession, with the Vikings having slightly more success.

With just over 20 minutes remaining in regulation, Montgomery attempted a corner kick that was denied, but the Vikings’ Paola Gomez corralled it and passed it to Micky Rosenbaum - who drove the ball back toward the net and delivered a beautiful shot across Menlo’s Grossman that took a favorable bounce off the crossbar and then landed in the back of the net.

“I think they knew after the third goal we had them,” McDonald said.

Montgomery was in complete control at that point. About five minutes later, Barragan scored her second goal, off another deflection - this time off a shot attempt from Gomez to take a 4-0 lead, which was more than enough to seal the victory for the Vikings.

Montgomery will stay at home in the state tournament’s second round to face third-seeded Mountain View High School at 4 p.m. on Thursday at Santa Rosa High School.

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