Two out of three ain't bad
Cheney soccer notches wins over Deer Park, Colville, lose to LC
Cheney’s Sarah Fix eyes the ball from ground level as two Colville defenders close in during Thursday’s game.
Tired legs and a short bench played as much a role as quality of opponent in the Cheney girls’ soccer team’s first loss last week.
The Lady Hawks were playing their third game in four days, in losing 5-0 at home against Greater Spokane League 4A Lewis and Clark on Friday. Cheney head coach Nils Radtke said they knew the Tigers would be strong, and wanted to turn in a good showing, which they did in the second half by limiting the visitors to just one goal.
But Cheney was also playing its second consecutive game in as many days, and had just two substitutes to boot, and only one in the second half after resting freshman midfielder Carsyn Anderson to protect a nagging ankle injury.
“Against a good team like that, it’s hard to compete with,” Radtke said.
Cheney was out shot 18-1, with freshman goalkeeper Nicole Rowley making 13 saves.
Overall though, it was a good week for the Lady Hawks. Cheney began their stretch with key Great Northern League wins Tuesday and Thursday over visiting Deer Park and Colville.
Tuesday the Lady Hawks not only overcame a tough Stags team but also a late start to the pre-game routine which Radtke said the team felt kept them from being ready for the game. Taylor Varang gave Deer Park a quick 1-0 lead with a goal in the first minute, but Cheney responded quickly with goals by Kendyl Cone (eighth minute) and Reba Eaton (24th minute) for a 2-1, halftime lead.
Riley Mortinson’s goal in the 60th minute knotted the score, where it stayed through regulation and into the second overtime period when Amanda Denny scored to give Cheney the win. The Lady Hawks out shot Deer Park 19-9 with Rowley making seven saves.
Thursday Cheney controlled the ball offensively for most of the first 40 minutes against the Indians, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Radtke said they were trying too many long shots, and told his team at halftime to “start going to goal.”
Cone took his advice. In the 46th minute the junior midfielder possessed a ball from Denny, dribbled among Colville defenders through the center of the field and sent home Cheney’s first score from about six yards out.
Twelve minutes later Cone scored again, bouncing in a shot from about 12 yards that went through the Colville goalkeeper’s hands for a 2-0 lead. Denny added a goal one minute later from about 20 yards away, and Cone finished her hat trick by following her shot that was initially blocked, putting in the deflection from close range to cap the scoring.
Cheney out shot Colville 11-1 with Rowley’s only stop coming in the second half. The win gives the Lady Hawks a 2-0 start in league action, 3-1 overall.
“It’s a better start to the season than last year,” Radtke said. “I’m pleased. Not satisfied, but pleased.”
The biggest change for Radtke is the team’s mental approach to the game. Even with the tiring schedule, and frustrating loss to LC, none of the girls stopped playing hard.
The LC loss exposed some weaknesses in Cheney’s back line, something Radtke said they will work on, and should get some more help with the return of veteran defender, Haley Dixon this week. The junior will get a chance to get her game legs back as the Lady Hawks travel to Lakeside (1-0) of the Northeast A league Tuesday before traveling to East Valley to take on a 1-2 Knights team in league action Thursday that’s young and seeking to find the right combinations.
“They’re going to be a good team,” Radtke said of East Valley. “Just like Lakeside, we’ve got to come out hard from the start.”
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.