RICHLAND -- Kamiakin's Marissa Rodriguez proved you don't have to play a ton of minutes to have a big impact.
The senior forward didn't start Saturday's game, playing just 20 minutes of an 80-minute match, but she finished it in a big way. Rodriguez executed a slick give-and-go with midfielder Chandra Stevenson and scored with just two minutes left in the game to give the Braves a 1-0 win over Hanford in Richland.
"I'm not a starter, and I'm not that great at scoring," Rodriguez said.
The Hanford defense, however, would beg to differ after she passed to Stevenson, weaved her way into the lower box and waited for a return pass before patiently banging in a low shot off of goalkeeper Emily Busselman inside the left post.
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"I thought (Busselman) was going to stop it, but I drove it just hard enough," Rodriguez said.
With the win, Kamiakin (12-3, 11-2 CBBN 3A) clinched no worse than the No. 2 seed into the CBBN 3A sub-regional playoffs and will open its postseason with a home game against a first-round winner. But Braves coach Chris Erikson also was pleased to see Rodriguez lift her team to a win.
"She's so upbeat and positive. I saw her wanting to go in, " said Erikson, who had to manage forward Ellie Heiden's minutes after she was cleared to play by doctors Saturday morning. Heiden was effective, drawing attention from Falcons defenders and forcing several corner kicks.
But it was Rodriguez who provided some of Kamiakin's best chances. Ten minutes before her game-winner she made a run up the right wing, took a pass from midfield and put a solid shot on frame. Busselman, however, was in great position for the stop.
"That combination play is what we needed. It's a short field, so the ball needed to move fast," Erikson said. "I thought (Rodriguez) was very composed on her goal. She's improved a lot."
The wind played a bigger role in the game than usual, with some strong gusts blowing toward the north half of the field. That affected the strategy for both sides, although the Braves still got off more shots against the wind than they did playing with it.
"When I woke up this morning, I looked out the window and saw the trees blowing sideways. I thought, 'Oh dear,' " Stevenson said after collecting her 10th assist of the year. "This gives us a lot of confidence going into our next few games that we can push through against the tougher teams."
Hanford (9-6, 7-6) will face Eastmont at home in the regular-season finale. A win will clinch the No. 4 seed and a first-round home game. A loss will result in a fourth-place tie.
The Falcons played well enough to win, getting several good chances in the second half, including a shot from Monica Rowley that got tipped over the crossbar by Braves keeper Sydnee Grant in the 54th minute.
"We were hoping to take advantage of some long balls from the defense in the second half," said Hanford junior Deanna Quadrel. "This one came down to whichever team could get the most shots off."
The Falcons made some halftime adjustments, like putting their speedier players up top and loading up in back with size and strength. For the most part, it worked, as Hanford got eight of its nine shots in the final 40 minutes.
But in the end, it was some nice efficient passing by Kamiakin that got the job done.
"Games like this are decided by the details," said Falcons coach Mart Oostrum.
Scoring--1, K, Marissa Rodriguez (Chandra Stevenson), 78:00. Shots--K 16, H 9. Saves--K, Sydnee Grant 4. H, Emily Busselman 10.
Southridge 4, Eastmont 2
Heather Johnson posted her 99th career goal and Brooke Benecke had a hat trick for Southridge in a CBBN 3A win over Eastmont in East Wenatchee.
Scoring--1, S, Brooke Benecke 30:00; 2, S, Benecke 15:00; 3, E, Karlee Goehner (Olivia Rodgers) 26:00; 4, S, Heather Johnson 38:00; 5, S, Benecke (Kat Tsoukalas) 61:00; 6, E, Leslie Vara 77:00. Shots--S 13, E 8. Saves--S, Ingrid Stein 6. E, Nikki Seyster 12.
Pasco 5, Kennewick 0
Abby Buckenberger assisted Sydney Virgen in the 43rd minute and scored solo in the 70th as Pasco blanked host Kennewick in a CBBN 3A game.
Scoring--1, P, Makena Snider (Moira Thornhill) 9:00; 2, P, Sydney Virgen (Abby Buckenberger) 43:00; 3, P, Angie Crutchfield 68:00; 4, P, Buckenberger 70:00; 5, P, Thornhill (Allison deLeon) 80:00. Shots--P 20, K 2. Saves--P, Carrie Nolan 1. K, Karissa Shiflet 9.
West Valley 10, Sunnyside 0
Allison Alderman scored a hat trick for West Valley in a CBBN 3A win over host Sunnyside.
Scoring--1, WV, Allison Alderman 3:00; 2, WV, Alderman 12:00; 3, WV, Aldemeran (PK) 18:00; 4, WV, Alderman 19:00; 5, WV, Courntey Buchanan 25:00; 6, WV, Rozlyn Pratt 29:00; 7, WV, Britnee Rider 49:00; 8, WV, Alderman 61:00; 9, WV, Sadee Kallis 74:00; 10, Kallis 76:00. Shots--WV 25, S 10. Saves--WV, Stephanie Gibson 7. Team, Jessica Cardenas 15.
Richland 3, Wenatchee 2 (OT)
Anneliese Barnes scored in the 86th minute on an assist from Katherine Virden to lift Richland to an overtime victory on the road against Wenatchee.
"I thought we played well," Bombers coach Sara Elfering said. "But we didn't put away all of our scoring chances early, a couple of defensive miscues and they were right back in it."
Scoring--1, R, Allie Boynton (Kirsten Calmus) 28:00; 2, W, Emily Rader (Machaela Roberts) 33:00; 3, R, Katherine Virden (Calmus) 59:00; 4, W, Shayla White (PK) 65:00; 5, R, Anneliese Barnes (Virden) 86:00. Shots--R 14, W 4. Saves--R, Shelby Long 2. W, Megan Wade 11.
Othello 2, Selah 1 (SO)
Alexis Martinez scored on a penalty kick in the 31st minute and combined forces with Vanessa McDonald and Stephanie Tolley in the shootout to give Othello a CWAC 2A home win over Selah.
Scoring--1, O, Alexis Martinez (PK) 31:00; 2, S, 45:00. Shootout goals (Othello 3-2)--O, Martinez, Vanessa McDonald, Stephanie Tolley.
East Valley 1, Prosser 0
Ashlee Betancourth scored in the first minute on an assist from Shallise Rodriguez to give East Valley all the edge it needed to earn a CWAC 2A victory against visiting Prosser.
Scoring--1, EV, Ashlee Betancourth (Shallise Rodriguez) 1:00. Shots--P 7, EV 12. Saves--P, Jamie White 6. EV, Katie Freisz 3.
Connell 3, Mabton 2 (OT)
Jackie Ramos scored in the 84th minute on an assist from RaShae Spencer to lift Connell over Mabton in an SCAC East game.
Scoring--1, C, Marci Hawkins (Kyra Courneya) 5:22; 3, C, Yesenia Gonzaga 38:41; 3, M, Marisela Sanchez 57:17; 4, M, Diana Leon 60:00; 5, C, Jackie Ramos (RaShae Spencer) 84:00. Shots--C 19, M 8. Saves--C, Gloria Gomez 5. M, Maria Elena Gutierrez 12.