The Walla Walla women’s soccer team has outscored its opponents 67-5 in 15 games this season, meaning that Warriors coach Chad Bodnar doesn’t have to worry too much about his offense or defense.
Only twice has Walla Walla failed to score more than two goals in a game this season, while the defense has racked up 11 shutouts.
But Bodnar began to show a little concern midway through the second half of Walla Walla’s 1-0 NWAACC win over Columbia Basin College on Saturday in Pasco. His team was still locked in a scoreless tie with the Hawks, although the Warriors were outshooting CBC 26-2 and still had nothing to show for it.
“I’ve done this a long time, and when a team has that many shots and the other team gets one counter, it seems like it always goes in,” Bodnar said.
In the 69th minute, however, Alli Madril trapped a pass from Kylie Gorton inside CBC’s 18-yard box, turned and beat Hawks’ goalkeeper Dakota Wickard for the only goal of the match, giving Bodnar a chance to breathe easy.
“We actually played pretty well, just not inside the 18-yard box,” he said. “That’s what’s silly about this game.You can have 40 shots, but if you don’t score. ... Part of the deal is just staying composed and knowing it’s going to come. We did that today.”
Wickard was put to the test in CBC’s goal, facing 39 shots. The freshman out of Pullman High School made 10 saves and made her presence known even when she wasn’t stopping shots.
“She’s finding her groove. The last few games, she realized she can take this on and become a positive, stellar NWAACC goalkeeper. She really took that to heart today,” CBC coach Matt Mills said.
She made four saves in the first half, but did her best work in the second half, when she stopped several point-blank shots by Walla Walla shooters.
“It’s every day pressure. We practice it. It’s not that we want that pressure, but we know it’s there so we can capitalize on it and use it to our advantage,” Wickard said. “It would have been nice to have a different outcome, but we definitely improved from last time (a 4-1 Warriors’ win in Walla Walla).”
Hawks forward Ruby Herrera nearly tied things up in the 76th minute after dribbling to the right side of the Warriors’ 18. With a step on her defender, Herrera aimed a shot under the crossbar from 14 yards out, but Walla Walla keeper Aiko Johnson got enough of her hand on it to tip it over the bar.
“We were focused and organized today. I set the expectation for the ladies to give 110 percent on our home field. I think we found that today,” Mills said. “The 1-on-1 battles were key today, and we held our own on those. We had a good chance (to score) that could have tied it up.
“Everybody competed stellar today. We’re still battling for that third-place spot, and it showed today.”
Walla Walla (14-1-1 overall, 10-1-1 NWAACC East) and Spokane (11-0-4, 9-0-3) have already clinched playoff berths, and CBC (6-6-2, 4-6-2, 14 points) is seven points ahead of Treasure Valley with four games to play.
The Hawks travel to Yakima Valley at 2 p.m. Wednesday and host Wenatchee Valley at noon Saturday.
Scoring—1, WW, Alli Madril (Kylie Gorton), 69:00. Shots—WW 39, CBC 3. Saves—WW, Aiko Johnson 2. CBC, Dakota Wickard 10.