By JOHN McCALLUM
Sometimes that first win is the hardest to get.
Thanks to a three-goal performance by Jade McCauley and two scores each from Chae Brown and Jaisa Holland the Cheney girls' soccer team can now put one in the “W” category, getting their first win of the season by knocking off visiting Lakeside 7-3 last Tuesday. And while new head coach Nels Radtke isn't keen on moral victories, he felt the Lady Hawks played one of their better games so far in Friday's 4-1 home loss to Lewis and Clark.
Holland was involved in five of Cheney's seven scores against the Eagles of the Northeast A League Tuesday. She and Brown hooked up on the Lady Hawks' first two goals, both by Brown, in the ninth and 17th minutes. McCauley got into the action with the next three goals, a solo shot in the 22nd minute, one in the 26th minute off Holland's third assist and again in the 35th minute, assist by Carlie Fox, for a 5-0 halftime lead.
Lakeside finally scored three minutes into the second half before Holland found the net with goals in the 44th minute, assist from Sierra Dixon, and in the 53rd minute, assist by Brown. Lakeside added goals in the 63rd and 64th minutes.
Cheney out shot the Eagles 13-12 with goalkeeper Montana Andrews making nine saves.
“It was nice to get the win,” Radtke said. “Once we get that first win, we get the experience from it, the excitement from it and build on it from there.”
But while the win was good, Radtke was a little worried how the team finished. It was a tale of two halves, the first won by Cheney but the second going to the Eagles, 3-2. Radtke thinks it might be a mindset issue since he believes his team is in pretty good physical shape early in the season.
The Lady Hawks had a good all-around effort Friday against a solid Tigers club out of the 4A Greater Spokane League. LC took a 1-0 lead into the half when Cheney failed to clear a ball inside the 18-yard box in the 21st minute, allowing freshman Haidyn Bulen to send a shot into the net.
MacKenzie Flynn crossed a shot from left to right just outside the 6-yard box past an outstretched Andrews to make it 2-0 in the 47th minute. Cheney answered four minutes later, with Holland passing to Brown who floated a 12-yard shot into the left part of the goal to make it 2-1.
LC regained their two-point lead on a Cheney own goal in the 57th minute, a shot Andrews stopped and appeared to control but the officials ruled it had just crossed the goal line. The Tigers added some insurance in the 74th minute on Jessica Ellingsen's unassisted goal.
LC outshot Cheney 10-2 with Andrews making six saves.
Radtke felt the Lady Hawks play against LC was a much better performance than their season-opening 7-1 loss to Ferris, adding the team is a bit of “a puzzle” right now in trying to put the pieces together for success.
The Lady Hawks will have to put everything together and continue to improve against opponents who count now, opening the Great Northern League schedule this week with a pair of road games. Cheney travels to Deer Park Tuesday to face the Stags, 1-0 after a 4-3 win over Riverside, and then to Colville Thursday, facing an Indians team starts 0-1 following an 8-2 loss to Idaho 3A Lakeland.
Radtke said he's excited to get league underway finally. Right now he's more focused on the Lady Hawks play than he is on coming league opponents.
“That needs to be our major concern,” Radtke said. “Then in games we can make some changes. I think we can do some special things this season.”
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.