RIDGEFIELD -- The Ridgefield girls soccer team now feels right at home playing postseason soccer.
Three Spudders scored goals on Tuesday as Ridgefield beat visiting Mark Morris 3-1 in a Class 2A District 4 semifinal, a win that guarantees the team a spot in the Class 2A state tournament. On Thursday, Ridgefield will host Black Hills of Tumwater at 7 p.m. in the district championship match.
Brooke Kates, Taryn Ries and Kenna Woodside scored the goals and Ridgefield carried momentum for much of the match.
A goal from Mark Morris forward Maddie Early shortly after halftime made for a competitive second half, but the Monarchs couldn't muster a quality chance at a tying goal.
The third match of the season between the Spudders and Monarchs had more intensity than the two league matches won by Ridgefield 1-0. It was also physical.
"The game meant a lot more. In league the stakes aren't nearly as high," Ridgefield coach Robbie Trimbo said. "Both teams want to win. Both teams are very fast and physical."
Kates and fellow senior Liz Smith both expressed surprise at the physical play.
"I thought we were very smart about it. We had to keep our cool and not be chippy back," Kates said. "We had to be physical, but not be stupid."
"We stuck together and didn't let them get in our heads," Smith said.
It helped that the Spudders scored first, taking a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute when Kates got onto the end of a cross from Ries.
"The last thing you want to do is give up a goal early at home," Trimbo said. "We're lucky enough to have a good crowd, so that's a huge, huge point for us. We wanted to make sure we were on the scoreboard first."
The crowd wasn't the only factor helping the Spudders. Trimbo said playing and practicing all season on the new artificial turf in Ridgefield's stadium helped his team prepare for the playoffs.
"It's nice for once not to be surprised when we hit (artificial) turf. For us coming off grass for postseason, that's always been a struggle," the coach said.
Ries, a freshman, made it 2-0 in the 29th minute. Ally Fox took a shot from distance that slammed off the crossbar and Ries was positioned to put away the rebound.
The two-goal halftime lead didn't last long into the second half. Early put home a rebound after Ridgefield goalkeeper Jenna Rogers dove to deflect away aa free kick from 20 yards by the Monarchs' Jenna Dukovcic.
For the next few minutes Mark Morris had momentum. But about 10 minutes after halftime, play returned more to Ridgefield's attacking half of the field.
With four minutes left, Woodside clinched the win by converting a cross from Smith.