Redmond’s Andrea Dang, right, battles for the ball with Mercer Island’s Kendall Riley. Courtesy of Dale Garvey

Redmond girls soccer notches big win over Mercer Island

Redmond High’s girls soccer team has some fire on its side, according to coach Stacy Masters, and the Mustangs blazed their way to a 2-1 victory over previously undefeated Mercer Island High on Thursday night.

After falling behind 1-0 early in the first half, Redmond equalized on an Izzy Bach-Lefler header off an Erin Crosier corner kick. The score remained 1-1 at halftime.

Redmond’s Andrea Dang put her team ahead early in the second half after Nicki Chan battled for the ball in the corner and then sent it to Dang for the shot past the keeper.

Redmond had a few more shots on goal and the Mustang defense held Mercer Island at bay the rest of the match to preserve the victory.

“It was a really good battle — back and forth,” said Masters, whose squad is 4-2-0 in 3A KingCo and 4-2-1 overall. Mercer Island is 5-1-0 in league and 6-1-0 overall. “I think our girls were really hungry, and I felt they were gonna do what they needed to do to come out on top. The played with heart and grit.”

Added Redmond goalkeeper Mackenzie Ault: “There was a lot of energy and intensity. It was great to see our team unity: connecting passes, getting crosses and getting the goals we did.”

The team voted Dang as the game most valuable player and Ella Polly was named the unsung hero. Masters said that Polly, a forward, was relentless to the ball and kept pressure on MI’s defense.

Masters was impressed with her girls’ belief in winning and is excited to see what they can do the second half of the season.

Redmond also notched a 3-1 victory over Sammamish on Tuesday night with goals from Chan, Emma Raffman and Vanessa Almada. Crosier had two assists and one came from Lily Chirichigno, who was voted most valuable player. Valerie Chung was named the unsung hero.

The Redmond goal-scoring parade has featured about nine different players this season.

“The threat of a goal can come from anyone on our team,” said Masters, who added that on the other end of the field, Ault has been solid in goal and sophomore Bach-Lefler is leading the brand-new back line.

The seeds to Redmond’s success were sown before the season began, said Masters, noting that the girls possess chemistry, positivity and confidence to notch victories.

Dang said that a three-day soccer retreat to Whatcom Community College in Bellingham with all the Mustang players — from the C team to varsity — was vital in getting the girls to bond with each other and stoke the fire for the season. Ault added that the girls engaged in a lip-synch battle at the retreat to keep things fun.

The duo also noted that the team cheered for participants in the Denali Dash to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital at Marymoor Park in September.

“We wanted to really show our support for Seattle Children’s Hospital,” said Dang, who was with some of her teammates at Hopelink in Kirkland on Friday to volunteer.

That team unity pours onto the field come game time. Ault said they’ll “keep the grind going” and Dang added that they need to stay in shape and eat right in order to keep the victories coming.

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