The Richland girls soccer team has had a few redemption games over the years -- a second-chance meeting that allows a chance to even the score after a loss.
But never against Moses Lake, which has emerged as a surprise contender for the CBBN 4A crown this season.
The Chiefs (7-4, 6-2 CBBN 4A) got off to their best-ever league start at 5-0, including a 4-3 shootout victory over Richland in Moses Lake. That win confirmed what Bombers' coach Sara Elfering already knew: The Chiefs were for real.
"When I was playing, Moses Lake was a lock," said Elfering, who won a state title at Richland in 1998 alongside forward Hope Solo. "Now, we're starting to realize that's not the way things need to be looked at."
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Now that the Chiefs are playing big-time soccer, the stakes are a little higher. Plus, when you knock off teams the first time, they'll be looking to answer back the next time around.
After rolling through the first half of its CBBN schedule, Moses Lake has lost two of its last three games, including a 1-0 home loss to Chiawana that hurt the Chiefs' chances of a league title.
Now, Richland will get its chance to even things up at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bomber Field.
"As soon as we lost, this became a really huge game," Elfering said. "Somebody emailed me a link to the article (the Columbia Basin Herald) wrote. (Moses Lake) did a fantastic job, but the way it was written made it sound like they'd wrapped things up. That's something we've been talking about."
Moses Lake is an experienced team with several returning starters, including Kaylah Lunning and Alysha Overland, who have four goals apiece. The Bombers are led by returners Katherine Virden (4 goals, 4 assists) and All-CBBN midfielder Kirsten Calmus, who has three goals over her last two games after returning from an ankle injury.
Richland goalkeeper Shelby Long has allowed just 0.75 goals per game with three shutouts.
Chiawana breaks through
A long season for the Riverhawks got a little happier thanks to Tuesday's win over Moses Lake. The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for Chiawana, which had also lost to Prosser -- a 2A school -- in the preseason.
The Sept. 8 loss to the Mustangs gave Riverhawks coach Rich Zoller a chance to reunite with Helen Petersen, whom he coached as a freshman before he was hired at Chiawana in 2009. Petersen scored a hat trick as the Mustangs won 6-2.
"It wasn't fun at the time, but it's nice to see Helen do well," Zoller said. "It's been three years since I was there, so those sentimental feelings are more distant. I'd rather have seen our team do well."
Zoller was looking for a way to build his team's confidence after losing several one-goal games in the CBBN. The win over the Chiefs -- on a late goal by Lexi Ellingsen -- might just do the trick.
"If we were just getting beat and outplayed by teams, that's one thing, but we've been in every game," he said.
Riverhawks forward Lexi Miller continues to lead the CBBN 4A in scoring with 13 goals. She also assisted on Ellingsen's game-winner Tuesday.
Othello right in thick of things
The Huskies lost 2-1 to Prosser on Saturday, but it didn't dampen the spirit of coach Kevin McDonald.
"One of my defenders was pretty bummed we lost, but I told her, 'Here's the deal. You just have to make the top six for the district playoffs,' " he said. "After that is when you have to make sure you win."
The Huskies (5-3-1, 4-2 CWAC) are tied for third with Ellensburg and Ephrata behind league-leading East Valley (10-0, 6-0) and second-place Prosser (9-2-1, 5-1).
"This is my fourth year. I don't get so uptight," McDonald said. "We're still learning and going forward in terms of what we do on the field. Our goal is to peak during the playoffs."
* Jack Millikin; 509-582-1406; firstname.lastname@example.org.