October 17, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 26

Lady Hawks hope home field advantage pays off

Cheney girls soccer head coach Nils Radtke is dubbing the next two weeks of games “Operation Home Field Advantage.”

With three of their final four Great Northern League games on the friendly confines of the pitch at the high school, the Lady Hawks hope to use the lack of a bus ride to their advantage and move up in the standings for a post-season playoff berth – one that might even net them a first round home game.

The Lady Hawks suffered two setbacks last week, losing a needed-league game on the road at Colville Tuesday and falling 4-0 in non-league action at Central Washington Athletic Conference member Ephrata.

No statistics were available from Ephrata, although Radtke said he felt the team played well up until the first goal, and went into a bit of a letdown afterwards. After a scoreless first half at Colville, Amanda Denny got Cheney on the board with an unassisted goal four minutes into the second half.

Colville’s Tora Luu tied the game in the 50th minute, and her sister Malia hit the eventual game winner in the 69th minute. Colville out shot Cheney 13-8 with goalkeepers Nicole Rowley making five saves and Paige Lewis six.

Cheney slipped to 3-5 in the GNL, nine points; fifth place a half game ahead of Colville (3-5, 4-7) and 4-8 overall. All four of the Lady Hawks final four games are with teams ahead of them in the standings, and wins in at least half or more of those games would help them in the final post-season seeding.

Cheney hosted second-place East Valley (7-2, 7-3, 21 points) Tuesday, and will make their final road trip Thursday to take on league-leading West Valley (7-2, 9-1, 22 points) Thursday. The Lady Hawks wrap up the regular season against third-place Clarkston (5-4, 7-4, 14 points) next Tuesday and with Senior Day Thursday against fourth-place Pullman (4-5, 5-5, 12 points).

Cheney lacked mental focus in an earlier 7-0 loss to the Knights, but played West Valley tough at home, losing 2-0 with goals in the fourth and 76th minutes.

“Except for East Valley, we were in all three of the other games,” Radtke said.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

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