Blackhawks use identical 9-0 wins to improve in other areas of their game
Sometimes the hardest games to play are those against teams below your level
In these games, Cheney High boys soccer head coach Mark Kiver tells his team to find challenges against opponents that will make aspects of their game better.
On the road last week at Deer Park (0-8 Great Northern League, 0-10) and Colville (2-5, 4-6), that was to not let them dictate the game’s style and pace to the Blackhawks. Kiver feels they met with success in that, along with successful outcomes by easily downing the outmatched Stags and Indians by identical 9-0 scores.
“We never underestimate an opponent going into a game,” Kiver said. “We always try to find a way to make ourselves stronger.”
Tuesday at Deer Park it was developing Cheney’s team instead of individual play. That approach led to six first-half goals, three by senior forward Ian Schimandle.
Schimandle added a fourth goal in the second half off an assist from Micah Weller. Also scoring were Weller, Trevan Estrellado, who added an assist, Nick Steele (2) and freshman Noah Prophet as the Blackhawks out shot Deer Park 25-0.
Thursday at Colville, Cheney faced a young, scrappy Indians team that did a good job challenging for balls in the first half. The Blackhawks started strong too, but failed to put away good scoring opportunities until 17 minutes in when Schimandle scored to give Cheney a 1-0 lead.
The senior scored again 15 minutes later, and Tad Tinker’s goal in the 39th minute sent the Blackhawks to the half up 3-0. But another advantage in playing teams not at your level is the ability to give role players more time on the field, and Kiver said this began to show in the second half.
Tired legs and lungs led to Colville players getting out of position and chasing the Blackhawks, which in turn led to fouls. Three of Cheney’s six second-half goals came on penalty kicks, two by senior defender Taylor Scharff and one by goalkeeper Kam Galm.
Estrellado, Tinker and Prophet each added a goal. Cheney out shot Colville 17-4 with Galm making four saves.
The wins give Cheney a six-game winning streak and nine in its last 10. The Blackhawks sit atop the GNL standings at 8-0, 24 points and 9-1-2 overall.
Cheney had a bye Tuesday, and hosts third-place East Valley (4-4, 4-5, 14 points) Thursday. The first game between the teams, a 1-0 Cheney win, was delayed by lightning and played after a hailstorm left the Knights field icy and slippery.
East Valley missed a couple early scoring opportunities, and good goal work by their keeper kept the score from being 3-0 or 4-0 in favor of the Blackhawks. Cheney was also coming off the end of a stretch of five games in six days to open the season, complicated by injuries preventing them from fielding a complete varsity roster.
Kiver thinks this time around the healthy Blackhawks will play a better game.
“Conditions will be a little bit better I think, playing on our field,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing a (good) game.”
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.