RIDGEFIELD — It took a couple of kicks to the gut on Tuesday to knock the fear from the Ridgefield girls soccer team.
Once that happened, it didn’t take long for the Spudders to propel themselves into the Class 1A state quarterfinals.
Freshman Jordyn Voyles scored twice in less than five minutes late in the match, lifting the Spudders to a 2-1 win over visiting Lynden Christian. The victory advances unbeaten Ridgefield (18-0) into a Saturday match against University Prep.
“It was pretty tough (falling behind), but I believed we could win this game,” Voyles said.
The first blow was absorbed by Ridgefield goalkeeper Jenna Rogers, who took a foot to the ribs in a collision with Lyncs’ forward Coryn Bajema early in the second half of a scoreless battle.
Moments later, Bajema delivered a more significant blow, scoring off a long throw-in from teammate Jessa Vanderpol to put the visitors ahead 1-0.
It was the first goal scored by a visiting team on Ridgefield’s home turf in two seasons, and the first time all season Ridgefield trailed in a game.
With less than 26 minutes remaining, that goal forced the Spudders to lift their intensity.
“We had to give up a goal to get going,” Ridgefield coach Robby Trimbo said. “Once that happened, we had such a good hometown crowd here, our fans were still with us and everybody got on the same page and we started playing the way we should have.”
Ultimately, the Lyncs couldn’t keep up with the speedy Voyles.
On the tying goal, which came with 14 minutes left, the freshman was able to work around a bigger defender to chase down a loose ball. She charged into the penalty area and put a clean shot past goalkeeper Louisa Brisbane.
“I just tried my best to keep up with the (defender), and I got past her and I was able to score,” Voyles said. “I knew I was going to go all out to get to that ball and get it in the back of the net.”
Voyles shook free again moments later. Sophomore Courtney Potter beat a defender down the right wing and sent a low cross to the front of the goal. Voyles beat Brisbane to the pass and poked it behind the Lynden Christian keeper for the go-ahead goal.
“I just believed in Courtney. Me and her up top know each other,” Voyles said. “(Brisbane) didn’t intimidate me. I was going for that ball and I was going to get it.”
Intimidated or not, the Spudders were unable to generate much of an attack until Voyles got free with the game on the line. Two shots from distance by Lizzie Vance were the most dangerous Ridgefield chances in the gam’s first 65 minutes.
One measure of the flow of play was Lynden Christian earning nine corner kicks to only one for Ridgefield.
But the Spudders stood tall on restarts against bigger Lyncs forwards.
“We just had to get through it,” Rogers said. “Yes, they were big, but we still had to keep focused and keep going.”
Rogers made seven saves, three of those after a sliding stop against Bajema that kept the Spudders’ sophomore goalkeeper down for a couple of minutes.
Rogers bounced back, and so did her teammates.
“They work incredibly hard up top. Their forwards just gave us fits and made us play everything quickly,” Lynden Christian coach Brent De Ruyter said. “A couple of bad bounces, one we didn’t clear, and (Voyles) finished very well.”
Tuesday’s victory was the first state tournament win for Ridgefield girls soccer since a run of six consecutive Class 2A state quarterfinal appearances from 2001 to 2006.