RICHLAND — You have to dig a while into the Big Nine record books before you find the last time the Richland girls soccer team lost a district championship match.
For the record, it was 1996 when the Kamiakin Braves handed the Bombers a 3-0 loss at Hanford High School. That was 15 years ago.
You'll be digging even longer if you're looking for Moses Lake's last district title. That's because it's never happened.
Not until Saturday, that is.
Caylah Lunning scored two goals, including the eventual game-winner with 10 minutes remaining, to give the Chiefs a 2-1 win over Richland at Bomber Field and their first-ever CBBN district championship.
"They'd better make us a trophy case," said sophomore midfielder Vanessa McNair as her teammates hoisted the district title trophy at midfield after the game.
The Chiefs (11-5) earned the No. 1 seed to the regional tournament beginning next Saturday. They will play host to Tuesday's loser between Mead and Central Valley at 1 p.m. The Bombers (12-3) got the No. 2 regional seed and will face the winner of that game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bomber Field.
"We were lucky this is a Big Nine year to host as the No. 2 seed," said Richland coach Sara Elfering. "We need to come out ready to prepare on Monday."
For Lunning, the win was sweet redemption after losing to Richland 3-2 on the same field just two weeks earlier in a match that all but secured the CBBN league title for the Bombers.
"Oh my gosh! There are no words to describe it. I'm just so happy right now," said the smiling sophomore, who has combined this season with freshman Alysha Overland to form a lethal tandem at forward. "(Winning districts) hasn't hit me yet."
The Bombers had won the last two district titles and nine of the last 10. But that history didn't help them against a driven team who came out firing.
"Mostly, you can't assume that because we put on the Bombers' jersey that people are going to hand us the district trophy," said Elfering, who has been a part of all but two of Richland's 11 district championships as either a head coach, assistant coach and a player.
"(Moses Lake) was here on a mission, and we came out flat-footed. I really believe we were lucky to be down only 1-0 at halftime," she said.
Lunning took advantage of some chaos on Richland's back line as well as a good bounce off a long goal kick from Moses Lake keeper Heidi Palmer. Lunning controlled the bounce and squeezed past the last two defenders for a breakaway chance against Bombers' keeper Shelby Long. She took two dribbles and calmly hit a left-footed liner into the right corner for a 1-0 lead.
The Chiefs outshot Richland 10-7, but the Bombers created several chances early in the second half, earning five corner kicks in the first 18 minutes. Finally, one of them connected.
Katherine Virden sent a ball in from the left corner, and Yesenia Alvarado headed it toward the mouth of the goal. Allison Boynton, with her back to the goal, then headed it toward the inside right post. Palmer knocked the ball down, but Kirsten Calmus was there for the equalizer.
"We gutted it out that goal, but Moses Lake is going to keep pushing until the whistle blows," Elfering said.
By that time, the Bombers had tightened things up on defense, which had Chiefs coach Ricardo Char concerned about a possible shootout.
"Absolutely. You can never count Richland out. They never quit," he said. "At that point, it was all about winning some momentum back."
In the 70th minute, Overland drove the ball down the left wing, where she was challenged inside the Bombers' 18-yard box by Andes Archibald. Overland was turned away, but Richland failed to clear.
The ball found its way back out to Lunning, who found some space near the top of the box, dribbled to her right and beat Long to the left corner for a 2-1 lead.
"I don't think I've ever jumped so high in my life," Char said. "Any time you can get a shot by Shelby, it's a great goal."
Scoring—1, ML, Caylah Lunning (Heidi Palmer), 26:00; 2, R, Kirsten Calmus (Allison Boynton), 58:00; 3, ML, Lunning (Alysha Overland), 70:00.
Shots—ML 10, R 7. Saves—ML, Heidi Palmer 4. R, Shelby Long 3.