RIDGEFIELD — After scoring three of its best goals of the season, the Ridgefield girls soccer team was flying high at halftime of its Class 2A state playoff game against Bellingham.
After scoring a trio of tremendous goals in the second half, it was the visiting Red Raiders flying off to the state quarterfinals.
Bellingham scored three quality goals in a span of 15 minutes to surge to a 4-3 win over the stunned Spudders on Tuesday at Ridgefield High School.
Mia Hodges started the rally with a header from a corner kick with 20 minutes left. Brooke Baker and Mary Dyrland then delivered from the perimeter of the penalty area.
“Absolutely pure bliss and happiness,” Dyrland said, describing her emotions when she scored the go-ahead goal with less than six minutes remaining.
Bellingham (10-6-5) will host a state quarterfinal against the winner of today’s match between Archbishop Murphy and Kingston.
Shock was the emotion for a Ridgefield team that dominated the first half and led 3-1 midway through the second half. Despite starting the night with some of their best soccer of the season, despite some marvelous offensive maneuvers from freshman Taryn Ries (two goals, one assist) and junior Jordyn Voyles (goal, assist), the Spudders saw their season end with 15 wins, four losses and one tie.
“(Bellingham) needed it, and we had the luxury of a 3-1 lead, so I think we went into wanting it (mentality),” Ridgefield coach Robby Trimbo said of the shift in fortunes after halftime. “They just started beating us to 50-50s and had three really good finishes.”
With nothing to lose, Bellingham shifted more players into the attack after halftime. The goals came late, but the momentum built shortly after the intermission. Ridgefield outshot Bellingham 9-1 in the first half. Bellingham outshot Ridgefield 12-5 in the second half.
A corner kick started the comeback with 20 minutes left to play. Hodges headed home a corner kick from Cashel Vincent to cut the deficit to 3-2.
“I noticed that the far post was completely empty,” Hodges said. “I went to that hole and the ball just happened to come right there. It was just perfect — right in the back of the net.”
Baker, who finished with two goals and one assist, tied the score with 16 minutes left by lifting a shot from the left side of the penalty area beyond the reach of Ridgefield goalkeeper Jenna Rogers. With just less than six minutes left, Baker and Dyrland worked a passing combination on the left side of the penalty area to create the game-winner.
“I didn’t want this to be my last game, so I just fought really hard,” Dyrland said. “I got a pass and I saw that the goalie was on the near post so I decided to shoot it.”
Ridgefield’s Ries and Voyles were the first-half stars. First Voyles beat a defender down the right wing and sent a cross that Ries converted to tie the score at 1 in the 11th minute. In the 25th minute, Ries worked her way into the penalty area and crossed the ball for Voyles to knock home. Two minutes later, Ries delivered a 20-yard shot that made the score 3-1 Spudders.
“Those are the three best goals I’ve seen all season, by far,” Trimbo said. “It’s bittersweet to have such a good first half and such a frustrating second half.”
Red Raiders coach Mark Wright said his team did not pass the ball in the first half, allowing Ridgefield to come at the Red Raiders with speed and skill.
“We seemed dumbfounded with their energy in the first half,” Wright said, noting that his team had no answer for Ries anywhere the Spudder freshman went. “In the second half, I was proud of the way we adjusted, and then came out and fought like crazy to get it done.”
Trimbo spent his postgame huddle celebrating the contributions of six seniors. Rogers, Megan Fox, Brooke Kates, Courtney Potter, Kenna Woodside and Liz Smith saw their high school soccer careers end with Thursday’s loss.
“They’ve bled blue and orange for us,” Trimbo said. “If anything, (the postgame talk) was a celebration for six special seniors who spent so long giving everything they had to the program.”