No. 2 Madison (11-1-3) now advances to the regional semifinal round Friday, when the Bulldogs host No. 6 Waynflete (12-4-0). The Flyers defeated No. 3 St. Dom’s 5-0 in the quarterfinals. Lisbon falls from the tournament at 9-7-0.

After four straight years of losing in the quarterfinals, Madison was primed to snap the losing skid. Additionally, Lisbon came into the game owning the only win over Madison this season, a 1-0 decision in Lisbon on October 8.

“This was a big win for us psychologically,” Madison coach Mike Walsh, who co-coaches with Erin Wood, said. “Getting by this game has been really hard for us.”

Lisbon returned to the strategy that proved successful in the first game against Madison, marking high-scoring Bulldog Kayla Bess player-to-player. In this game, the Greyhounds added another defensive pairing against the Bulldogs’ Madeline Wood.

“We knew Lisbon would be there defensively,” Walsh said. “We knew we had to control the middle of the field and we did it well.”

Throughout the first half the strategy proved solid, but in the second half Madison controlled the middle of the field, taking the game to the Greyhound defenders.

“We played extra hard,” Lisbon coach Jake Gentile said. “Madison has talented players. We normally play five defensive players, today we tried using two more to take away their scoring threats. All three of their goals were great goals.”

After a first half that ended in a 1-1 draw and saw Bess and Lisbon’s Deliah Schreiber show extreme talent with the ball, each scoring a goal, the Bulldogs climbed on top for good, laying to rest their horrible playoff losing streak.

Early on, Madison had several clear-cut opportunities that appeared headed into the back of net, only to have Lisbon goalkeeper Alexandra Sult (11 saves), stretch to full length, making four diving saves to keep the Greyhounds in the game.

Madison, however, found an opening at 25:46 of the second half, covering a high bouncing ball in the penalty area. Bulldog Aisha Malloy lobbed a soft shot over Sult into the top of the net from eight yards to score what would prove to be the deciding goal.

“I tried to get a body on it,” Malloy said. “I saw their goalie in the middle and just tried to touch it over her head. They had a solid defense, so I took a light touch to goal.”

Both teams waged a tough battle in the middle of the field during the final stages of the game, looking for a small advantage to turn the game in their favor. It was Bess who found the opening, dribbling through a pair of defenders before touching the ball past Sult for a 3-1 lead with 2:18 left in the game.

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