Kamiakin boys soccer coach Jeff Bennett found himself in a quandary at the beginning of this season, having to convert two midfielders to central defense.
Those two players Kolten Brockman and Cooper Weide played key roles in the Braves latest big win, a 1-0 Mid-Columbia Conference shootout win over Kennewick on Thursday at Lampson Stadium.
Bennett gave props to all his back line, including outside defenders Adam Sherman and Mark Hayden, for standing up to the Lions dynamic offensive attack.
Theyre a great team. Very potent and very quick to counter. But we hung in there and fought hard. Everybody gave everything they had, Bennett said. Brockman was very strong in the air, winning everything in the air. Adam really stepped up. I thought it was the best game Id seen him play.
The fourth-year Kamiakin coach said the defense has had some growing pains, but they came into their own against previously undefeated Kennewick.
It was a challenge in the first several weeks as a unit, and we struggled for a portion of the match tonight, Bennett said. But we were able to start connecting passes together in the second half.
The teams played through 90 scoreless minutes and headed to a shootout. The Lions put seven shots on frame, but all were stopped by Kamiakin keeper Riley Shulman. In the Kennewick goal, Jose Rodriguez and Henry Hernandez split the shutout, making one save apiece.
The Braves shooters Brockman, Josymar Renteria, Ty Wallin, Caleb Vogel and Jose Anguiano buried all five of their shots in the shootout, but Kennewick hit a snag in the fourth round when officials found an issue with Daniel Uribes approach to the ball.
After instructing Uribe on an acceptable approach, Uribe lined a shot over the bar.
Sam Borja, Ramiro Chavez and Uriel Ramirez all converted in the shootout for Kennewick, which drops into a three-way tie for first place along with Hanford and Richland at 4-1.
Kamiakin, at 3-2, moved into a tie with Pasco for fourth.
Shootout goals (Kamiakin 5-3)Kennewick, Sam Borja, Ramiro Chavez, Uriel Ramirez. Kamiakin, Kolten Brockman, Josymar Renteria, Ty Wallin, Caleb Vogel, Jose Anguiano. ShotsKen 8, Kam 8. SavesKen, Jose Rodriguez 1, Henry Hernandez 1. Kam, Riley Shulman 7.
Sunnyside 1, Pasco 0: The Bulldogs and Grizzlies battled through 59 minutes of scoreless soccer, but Sunnyside broke through with what would be the game-winner in the 60th minute at Edgar Brown Stadium.
It was a restart from 40 yards out. (Sunnyside) played a good ball that floated in to the back post, Pasco coach Matt Potter said. (Goalkeeper) Jon (Rosas) made a play on it, but he couldnt quite tip it over the net.
The Bulldogs outshot the Grizzlies 14-4.
Scoring1, SS, 60:00. ShotsSS 4, P 14. SavesSS, 8. P, Jon Rosas 3.
Wahluke 2, Granger 1 (SO): Alan Caro didnt want special recognition from his team after their SCAC road match.
All he did was make back-to-back saves in the sixth and seventh round of a shootout to help the Warriors steal a league victory.
We were going to give him the game ball, Wahluke coach Arthur DeVictoria said. But he said, I was just doing my job. My job is to make saves.
He made seven in all, as Librado Barajas scored the game-winner for Wahluke.
Scoring1, Granger, Alredo Reyes (Esau Cervantes), 72:00; 2, Wahluke, Juan Estrada (Luis Veloz), 74:00. Shootout goals (5-4)Wahluke, Julio Maldanado, Juan Estrada, Charlie Ramos, George Cresciado, Librado Barajas. ShotsWahluke 7, Granger 12. SavesWahluke, Alan Caro, 7; Granger, Gerardo Ochoa, 4
Highland 9, Kiona-Benton 0: Zachary Metcalf made 14 saves in an SCAC road loss for the Bears.
Scoring1, Highland, Duvan Vaca (Arturo Flores); 2, Highland, Jesus Gutierrez (Vaca); 3, Highland, Gutierrez (Miguel Muniz); 4, Highland, David Arreguin (David Paniagua); 5, Highland, Carlos Mangana (Manuel Zapier); 6, Highland, Tony Alvarez (Juan Salcedo); 7, Highland, Armando Lopez (Alexis Colin); 8, Highland, Arreguin (Flores); 9, Highland, Alvarez. SavesKiona-Benton, Zachary Metcalf, 14; Highland, Armando Lopez, 1