Cheney Free Press -

By JOHN McCALLUM
Managing Editor 

Cheney drops West Valley for D7 soccer title

Blackhawks earn home date on Saturday with CWAC's fourth-seed

 

Last updated 11/8/2019 at 11:35am

John McCallum

Photo by John McCallum Jocelyn Cone winds up for a shot in front of West Valley's Gillian Simpson (13) in the Blackhawks 3-2 win to earn the District 7 title and home game this Saturday in regional playoffs.

CHENEY – The Blackhawks and West Valley girls' soccer teams have battled each other all season long for the top spot in the Great Northern League – and things were no different Tuesday in the District 7 title game where once again, one goal decided things.

That came in the 62nd minute, when Makenna Benson found teammate Jocelyn Cone for a goal that sent the Blackhawks to a 3-2 win, the top-seed from the GNL and a home game in regional playoff action this Saturday. Both teams qualified for crossover play with the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds out of the Central Washington Athletic Conference.

The Blackhawks and Eagles hooked up four times this season, three in league play where Cheney went 2-1, losing 3-2 on the road Oct. 10 but winning at home 2-1 on Sept. 24 and 3-1 in the regular-season finale Oct. 26 to win the GNL title. To earn a third win – one that carried perhaps the most weight – head coach Nels Radtke said the girls had to up their intensity to a new level.

"Pressure everything, deny every shot, deny every cross, that's what we worked on this week and they did an amazing job with it," Radtke said.

Both sides battled each other in a see-saw affair that was pretty physical and contentious at times – earning a total of five yellow cards including one called on a West Valley assistant coach.

Cheney broke through first, scoring in the eighth minute on a Benson goal, assisted by Kailey Estrellado and Mackenzie Huotari. Kaitlin Teeters solo goal in the 25th minute put the Blackhawks up 2-0.

Morgan Rojas' solo goal in the 39th minute put West Valley on the board just before the half, and the junior assisted on a goal by Alyssa Amann that tied the game early in the second half. From there, both teams applied pressure on each other's goal, with keepers Sydney McCarthy of Cheney and West Valley's Madison Moloney called upon to make several saves – setting things up for Cone's goal and some drama before the final whistle.

"There were some tough times, but you know, all and all they kept their heads and were able to hold them," Radtke said. "That's what a mature team does and that's what we are."

Cheney out shot West Valley 12-8, with McCarthy making six saves and Moloney nine.

Cheney (14-3) will host the loser of the CWAC's third and fourth-seed game between Ephrata and Othello this Saturday, Nov. 9, while West Valley (14-4) travels to face the winner. Winners of both those games advance to the opening rounds of the state tournament, Nov. 11-16, while the loser's season is over.

Ephrata and Othello played Tuesday night, with Ephrata coming into the game No. 3 in the CWAC standings at 6-3, 10-8 overall while Othello was No. 4, also at 6-3, 11-7 overall. CWAC No. 1 Selah (9-0, 16-1) and No. 2 Ellensburg (8-1, 14-1) were also set to play Tuesday night.

For Radtke, it doesn't matter who Cheney hosts on Saturday, or possibly after for that matter. With an experienced squad that includes seven juniors and nine seniors, the seventh-year Blackhawks head coach feels confident his team is ready.

"With our team, I don't worry about who we're playing because as long as we play our game, I think we're set," he added.

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

 

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