Mount Vernon, Wash. — The Mount Vernon boys’ soccer team put an exclamation point on a perfect 10-0 season as they smothered the Bellingham Raiders, 6-2, to claim the title of the only undefeated team in the Northwest Conference.
In their last game on Bulldog Stadium, seniors Sergio Garduño-Mendez and Edgar Serrano had an inspiring night.
Garduño-Mendez started the scoring in the 10th minute when he broke past Bellingham defender and club teammate Gio Gonzalez off a perfectly threaded Kyler Houck pass. Garduño-Mendez would do it again in the 17th minute, this time off a pinpoint pass from Serrano. The Bulldogs were off to a blistering start in front of a packed Bulldog Stadium.
Five minutes later, Griffin Brethauer would put the Raiders on the scoreboard. Mount Vernon defenders struggled to keep possession and play out of the back, and Bellingham punished them for it. Bay Gregory stole the ball and set Berthauer up for a nice one-time finish inside the 18-yard box. Mount Vernon’s goalkeeper, Jose Batista, was left helpless.
The Bulldogs dominated the first half, but the Raiders countered well and kept Mount Vernon honest.
The Raiders came out in the second half determined to spoil Mount Vernon’s last dance. It was Brethauer, again. In the 50th minute, Mount Vernon conceded a free-kick to Bellingham. The set-piece looked far from a goal-scoring opportunity, but Brethauer thought differently. Brethauer fired a lofted shot that found the top-right corner. Mount Vernon’s second-half goalkeeper, Alan Ruiz, made a great effort, but it was not enough to prevent Brethauer’s brace.
Bellingham was inspired and took it to Mount Vernon for the next five minutes, bombarding Ruiz with shot-after-shot. Ruiz, however, was up for the challenge. On one occasion, he made three back-to-back-to-back saves.
When it looked like the Raiders had the Dawgs pinned against the wall, a familiar hero decided to re-introduce himself. Serrano played a ball that split two Bellingham defenders, and with a beautifully timed run, the freshman phenom, Aaron Diaz, gave Mount Vernon a second wind.
Over eight minutes, Bellingham had no response for Mount Vernon. Four minutes after Diaz put MV up, 3-2, Serrano would whip a corner kick into the box that would find its way into the back of the net. Attempting to clear the ball, Bellingham midfielder, Riley Knies, would put the Serrano cross in the back of his own goal. Bellingham was hurt, and if there is one thing we know, the Bulldogs love to pounce in these moments.
Four minutes later, a long-ball by Diaz into Serrano looked overhit. Still, Serrano met it inside the 18-yard box, only to be taken down by Gio Gonzalez. Serrano would once again trust himself to finish the penalty kick. This time, however, it was a statement. Serrano demonstrated just how cool, calm, and collected he can be in moments of high stress. Serrano put the Bulldogs up 4-2 after he resorted to a Panenka-style kick from the spot.
From that moment on, it was a Bulldog ball game. Mount Vernon controlled the tempo and possessed for the remainder of the game. When it looked like it was over, though, Garduño-Mendez would return the favor to Houck. The last-minute goal meant the world to the Bulldogs, and it showed when the entire team, including the bench, rushed Houck to celebrate their last team goal for the 2021 season.
The Bulldogs finish 10-0, making it the program’s first perfect season. Along the way, they have risen to every task. With no playoffs, like many other programs throughout Wash., you have to wonder: Was this the year?
1, Mount Vernon, Sergio Garduño-Mendez (Kyler Houck), 10:00.
2, Mount Vernon, Sergio Garduño-Mendez (Edgar Serrano), 17:00.
1, Bellingham, Griffin Brethauer (Bay Gregory), 22:00.
2, Bellingham, Griffin Brethauer, 50:00
3, Mount Vernon, Aaron Diaz (Edgar Serrano), 58:00.
4, Mount Vernon, Riley Knies (own goal), 62:00.
5, Mount Vernon, Edgar Serrano, 66:00.
6, Mount Vernon, Kyler Houck (Sergio Garduño-Mendez), 80:00.