By JOHN McCALLUM
A last minute breakaway goal sent the Lady Hawks soccer team to defeat in a crucial Great Northern League match up last Thursday at East Valley.
In the 77th minute, Cheney struggled to possess a ball in the midfield and the Knights capitalized, sending a pass over the Lady Hawks defenders into the backfield. Nikkie Roemer tracked it down, dribbled about 20 yards and launched a shot from just outside the 18-yard box over goalkeeper Montana Andrews for the score giving East Valley the 2-1 win.
It was a hard way for Cheney to lose a game in which they played the third-place Knights fairly evenly, at least at first. Cheney played probably the “best 11 minutes of the season” in the first half, head coach Nels Radtke said, getting a couple big saves from Andrews in the first 5-7 minutes.
In the 11th minute, midfielder/forward Chae Brown shook a couple East Valley defenders with a right to left crossover dribble and arched a left-footed shot over the Knights goalkeeper into the net for a 1-0 lead. In the 26th minute the Knights applied some pressure on Cheney’s defense and turned the build up into Adrian Turner’s 10-yard shot that tied the score.
From there East Valley controlled the game’s tempo, keeping Cheney on defense most of the second half. The Knights out shot the Lady Hawks 8-3, with Andrews making six saves.
The loss keeps Cheney in sixth place in the GNL at 4-5, 13 points and 5-7 overall. The Lady Hawks have a chance to move up in the standings into fourth and a home playoff game, but they need to have two things happen: Win their final three games and then hope fourth-place Clarkston (5-5 14 points, 6-5) loses its last two.
The Lady Hawks will have a say in that, traveling to Clarkston Thursday, Oct. 18 where they hope to avenge the 2-1 shootout loss Sept. 27 to the Bantams.
Cheney has the tougher road however, hosting second-place West Valley (7-3 21 points, 9-3) Tuesday and then finishing the regular season schedule on the road against league-leading Pullman (9-0 27 points, 12-1) Saturday while Clarkston wraps up at last place Colville (0-9, 1-11). Radtke thinks his team has a chance, if they can keep their focus and play a couple complete games they way they have played stretches of others this season.
“I’m confident we can do it,” he said. “We just need to capitalize early and hold them off.”
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.