Updated Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 07:16 PM
The Holy Names girls soccer team is finally over its state-tournament hump.
Second-half goals by Katie Chandler and Micahela McGonigle lifted the Cougars to a 2-0 victory over Peninsula Tuesday night in a Class 3A first-round match at Memorial Stadium. It was the first playoff win for the Cougars since 2007 (they had first-round losses in 2009 and 2010).
"Finally," said Chandler, one of five Cougar seniors. "This feels great."
Holy Names (14-5-2), which has won seven straight, advances to the quarterfinals to meet the winner of Wednesday's Kennedy Catholic-Everett match. Peninsula finished 11-8-0.
Though the Cougars controlled the ball most of the scoreless first half, they struggled to produce scoring opportunities.
Their proficiency at set pieces paid off in the second half, scoring both goals off corner kicks. Chandler used her right back heel from close range to boot home a corner kick from fellow senior Julia Hawn in the 54th minute, and McGonigle headed in Katelyn Faust's corner kick in the 65th.
Chandler, who will play for Washington University in St. Louis next year, conceded her goal-scoring technique was a touch unconventional.
"I was just in the right spot at the right time," she said. "I'll just put whatever body part on ball I need to get the ball in the goal. "If it's the back heel or the toe, that's OK."We've been scoring a lot on set pieces, and that's been one of our biggest advantages this year," she said. "We needed one at that point to get the momentum back."
"We're a second-half team," coach Teddy Mitalas said. "In the last three weeks, we've scored, like, 19 goals in the second half. I really wasn't worried. I just wanted the girls to settle down.
"We've been working on our set plays, and I was hoping we'd score on one. We did, and that helped."