Big victories move Cheney to 2-0 in Great Northern League
By JOHN McCALLUM
There are still things about his team that first-year head coach Nels Radtke is finding out but one thing is for certain: The Cheney girls soccer team won't have trouble scoring.
The Lady Hawks hung 14 points on their opponents last week, notching road wins over Deer Park, 7-2 and Colville, 7-0 to go 2-0 to open their 2012 Great Northern League campaign. Junior forward Chae Brown led Cheney offensively, tallying five goals, four against the Lady Indians.
Against Deer Park (0-1 GNL, 1-3 overall) however, it was a case of sharing the wealth. The Lady Hawks started slow, missing an early penalty kick and then falling behind 1-0 on a Lady Stags goal in the ninth minute before Brown evened things with a goal four minutes later.
Forward Sierra Lewis regained the lead for Deer Park in the 15th minute. Kendal Cone tied it again with a goal in the 17th minute, assisted by Katie McNair and three minutes later Brown found Sierra Dixon for goal giving Cheney a 3-2 halftime lead.
Radtke said he and assistant coach Matt Pollack were making some adjustments heading into the half, noting the Lady Stags were a “very direct” team playing on a small field. Subsequently long balls were getting over the Cheney midfield and not being contested in the air by the Lady Hawk backfield, something they changed in the second half by making sure a Cheney defender always but a head or body on the ball while also applying offensive pressure on the Deer Park back line.
“Once we figured that out we kind of cruised from there,” Radtke said.
Dixon gave Cheney a two-point margin with a solo goal in the 51st minute, and after Deer Park knocked in a ball for a Cheney own-goal six minutes later, Jaisa Holland and Sarah Fix sealed things for the Lady Hawks with solo goals in the 63rd and 74th minutes.
Cheney outshot Deer Park 17-10 with goalkeeper Montana Andrews making eight saves.
Thursday Cheney again started slowly but it didn't take them long in finding their rhythm once they found the back of the net. Brown got things going with a goal in the 10th minute, assisted by Dixon, with Dixon getting into the act with a solo goal in the 14th minute.
Fix's goal in the 23rd minute put Cheney up by three and Brown's second tally gave the Lady Hawks a 4-0 lead at the half. One minute into the second half Brown possessed a pass from Cone near the end line, turned and beat a couple Deer Park players for a tap-in goal giving her the hat trick and Cheney a 5-0 lead.
Katy McNair's unassisted goal in the 44th minute made it 6-0, with Brown's final score in the 47th minute – a nice shot from just outside the 18 after eluding a pair of Lady Stag players – ending the scoring, and sending her to the bench to prevent injury. Cheney out shot Colville 23-7 with Andrews making seven saves.
Cheney (2-0, 3-2) steps out of league play for one game this week, hosting Ephrata from the 2A Central Washington Athletic Conference Tuesday. The Lady Hawks return to league action Thursday, hosting East Valley (0-2, 1-4). Three of the Lady Knights four losses have been close, with the two league matches being 2-1 losses to Clarkston and West Valley.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.