The early morning forecast called for thunderstorms Wednesday, May 29, putting Perry’s regional matchup with Collins-Maxwell in danger of getting delayed yet again. But the only storm that took over the field was senior Natalie Martinez and the Jayettes with a 4-2 win to advance to the Class 2A Region 4 final.
After a string of losses to close out the regular season, it’s been three weeks since the Jayettes posted a box score like that. With the seniors being honored before their final game on Dewey Field, that return to form was a welcomed finale, particularly for Perry all-time leading scorer Martinez who led the way with three goals.
“We were determined, you know,” Martinez said. “We didn’t want this to be our last game. And I think everybody had that mentality that we need to go after it right away because if we get them off in the first five minutes, we will basically dominate.”
It took a few more ticks on the clock than five minutes, but Perry struck first with a Martinez kick in the fifteenth minute.
Another 12 minutes passed and C-M made headway with Mollie VanMaanan getting by the goalkeeper. With another seven minutes off the clock, Maggie Pritchard put in an easy goal on a penalty kick.
And when it rains, it typically pours. The Raiders came dangerously to getting a third goal in 15 minutes with a try from Avery Fricke that hit the post, keeping the score in check for Perry to even the score.
Molly Lutmer made her way down the field, getting two tries on the Raiders’ net but couldn’t escape the swarming defense. That fueled Martinez even more.
“We were down 2-1, so I was like, ‘Okay, this is now or never,’” Martinez said.
She added that she knew if she kept taking touches, something would go in. And with two minutes to spare in the half, she tied the ballgame back up at 2-2. The only thing that stopped her from more was the break at the half, as her name was called in the first two minutes in the second period.
“I told the girls that we need to get results as soon as possible in the second half because if we do, we’re probably going to intimidate the other team,” she said.
That burst permeated throughout the team as freshman Jazmin Hernandez added to the bottom line to grab the final score in the 55th minute, setting the Jayettes for a rematch with ADM on Monday, June 3 at 6 p.m.
Perry last saw the Tigers at the front end of May falling 4-0 in Perry. The trip to Adel also marks a grudge match for the Jayettes as they fell to ADM in the same regional round last year which Martinez said gives the Jayettes even more motivation to advance to the next round.