Schimandle goal carries Cheney
Kelby Holland (18) rushes to be the first to congratulate Ian Schimandle on his goal against East Valley. The senior's shot carried the day in Cheney's 1-0 win.
National League Hockey great Wayne Gretsky once said "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."
Cheney High School boys' soccer coaches Mark Kiver and Matt Pollack keep using the quote to remind the Blackhawks to keep shooting the ball as often as possible. It's a work in progress, but it's work that paid off last Thursday against East Valley.
The Blackhawks only shot the ball nine times against the visiting fourth-place Knights (4-6, 4-7, 14 points), missing several good looks and having several more denied via stellar stops by EV goalkeeper Adam Bromley.
But in the 60th minute, Cheney finally escaped some EV pressure by clearing the ball from in front of their goal toward the crowd's side of the field. A Knights' defender knocked the ball out of bounds, and Cheney advanced into EV territory on the throw-in, pushing forward near the goal where Micah Weller possessed it left of the goal, and fired a pass back to Ian Schimandle standing at the penalty kick mark.
Schimandle, guarded by an EV player who shielded him from Bromley, feigned right then whirled left and fired a shot into the net for the game's first score – a score the Blackhawks made stand for a 1-0 Great Northern League win.
"It wasn't easy," Kiver said. "East Valley is much improved from the beginning of the season. We managed to get a couple opportunities and we finally closed out on one."
Indeed for much of the first half it was the Knights dictating the game's pace, pressuring Cheney's defense and getting a breakaway one-on-one opportunity midway through the first 40 minutes that was thwarted by goalkeeper Kam Galm's scoop save. The Blackhawks played into East Valley's strengths, free kicks and long throw-ins, in the first half, Kiver said, but did a good job in the second of implementing their game plan.
Cheney out shot East Valley 9-4, with Galm making three saves, in running their record to 10-1-2 overall, 9-0 in GNL play, 27 points. The Blackhawks remain one game and three points ahead of second-place Pullman with three games left in the regular season.
"We're still working on things we need to do," Kiver said. "We need to take more shots instead of waiting for that perfect one."
Kiver was appreciative of the battle the Knights gave Cheney, especially this time of year with playoffs approaching. They'll get two more this week, especially Tuesday in a road game at third-place West Valley (7-3, 8-6, 19 points).
Cheney got three first half goals and held on for a 4-0 win March 29 over the Eagles. The Blackhawks will honor their seniors prior to Thursday's game with visiting Clarkston before facing Pullman in a league showdown next Tuesday.
"We know we have to take our game to the next level and keep getting better and better," Kiver said. "This time of year, we want to accelerate ourselves. We need the challenges to push us."
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.