Cheney boys’ soccer head coach Mark Kiver best summed up the Blackhawks three Great Northern League wins last week.
“You have three games in a week, score 16 goals and give up none, that’s a pretty good week,” Kiver said.
Indeed it was as Cheney stretched its league-leading mark to 6-0, improving to 7-2 overall. Those three wins included a 3-0 shutout of second-place Pullman (4-2, 5-4, 12 points) Saturday, which coupled with the Greyhounds 4-2 loss Thursday at Colville helped the Blackhawks open a two-game lead in the standings.
Cheney attacked Pullman from the opening whistle with Trevan Estrellado battling Greyhound defenders in the corner to flip a pass to Micah Weller near the 18-yard box, and the junior midfielder sent home the first half’s only score from there.
The Blackhawks went up 2-0 one minute into the second half as Ian Schmandel scored off a corner kick by Estrellado. Kiver said the goal seemed to take the wind out of Pullman’s sails from there on, with Weller adding an insurance goal in the 78th minute off another Estrellado assist.
The Blackhawks out shot Pullman 17-3 with goalkeeper Joe Scott making one save.
Cheney’s week began with a 5-0 win over West Valley Tuesday in a game postponed from Monday and moved to Cheney from Millwood because of a lack of officials due to scheduling confusion. The Blackhawks opened with goals by its pair of Ians – Schmandel and Shirey – in the second and 15th minutes respectively and finished off the fifth-place Eagles (2-4, 4-5, 6 points) on Estrellado’s hat trick, the junior scoring in the 45th, 60th and 62nd minutes.
Weller had two assists and Cruz Galm. Cheney out shot West Valley 20-7 as Scott had four saves and Kam Galm one.
Thursday the Blackhawks exploded for five second half goals in their 8-0 win over visiting Clarkston (1-5, 1-6, 4 points). Shirey made it 1-0 with a 16-yard shot in the seventh minute, Schmandel fed Weller for an easy 2-yard chip-in the 15th minute and Nick Steele got behind the Bantams defense and right-footed in a shot from the left side of the net just inside the 18 box for a 3-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
Clarkston opened the second half with early offensive pressure, but couldn’t sustain it. Cheney’s next three goals all came from virtually pointblank range in front of the Bantams’ goal: tap-ins by Estrellado and Shirey, both off Weller assists, in the 48th and 58th minutes and Schmandel’s header off an assist by Daniel Bogart in the 65th.
Kevin Reyes got his first goal of the season off an assist by Steele in the 78th minute and Nick Ellis got his first one minute later on an assist by Oliver Smith to wrap up Cheney’s scoring. The Blackhawks out shot Clarkston 21-4 with Scott making two saves and Galm one.
“Overall it was a great end to the week and a great way to end the first half of the season,” Kiver said.
Kiver likes what he’s seen so far from the Blackhawks in their first run through the GNL, getting good chemistry, game flow and seeing confidence building in his squad.
“They’re pretty focused so it’s a good thing,” Kiver said. “But there’s still a lot we’re working on.”
One of those will be sustaining success on the road. The switch with West Valley gives Cheney just one remaining home game, April 9 with Colville, which means they face key late-season match ups with Pullman, East Valley and the Eagles in unfriendly territory.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.