Cougars use home field advantage

LAKEWOOD — With six of the Cougars’ games being decided after regulation, how else would the first round of the District 1 tournament go?

Lakewood defeated Bellingham in its accustomed fashion — shootout — Oct. 31 in a 2-1 result. Goalkeeper Miranda Head stopped a pair of penalty kicks to secure the win.

“We know that with (Head) in goal, if we can hang with or play with anybody, we have an advantage in the shootout,” said coach Jeremiah Wohlgemuth.

The Cougars outshot the Red Raiders 15-5 in the game and took home field advantage to another level, scoring in the third minute.

“It’s the day after a football game and the field was a mess,” Wohlgemuth said. “There are mud puddles every where and we kicked the ball around a lot before and you could see as soon as they stepped on the field that they weren’t ready for the conditions.”

That advantage led to a goal by Mariah Smith, from the assist by Erin Dierickx’s corner kick.

From that point, the Cougars maintained possession and outplayed the Red Raiders until the 65th minute, when a ball slipped by the Lakewood back line, allowing for the equalizing Bellingham shot inside the penalty box.

The Cougars move on to play Sehome (15-1, 12-1 Northwest Conference) Nov. 2 — after The Times’ press time, with the winner going to state and the loser getting one more chance to earn a state berth.

“We feel like they are a beatable team,” Wohlgemuth said of Sehome. “They have Jessica Bertucci and Madison Heilmann — a couple of the better goal scorers around, but we’re confident in our defense.”

The Cougars have allowed just 13 goals in 17 games, while the Mariners have scored 56 goals in 16 games.

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