TUKWILA -- The Walla Walla Community College women's soccer team has made an unprecedented six consecutive trips to the NWAACC championships since 2005, an amazing run for a team that has gone 133-6-5 under coach Chad Bodnar during that stretch.
But the Warriors got the chance to use three magic words for the first time Sunday after beating Clackamas 2-0 in the NWAACC title game at Starfire Soccer Complex.
A few short minutes after the final whistle blew, an enthusiastic Walla Walla side gathered just outside the center-mid circle. That's when the chant began:
"Back-to-back! Back-to-back! Back-to-back!"
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Warriors midfielder Justine Jones was the woman of the hour, earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors for scoring five goals in three tournament games -- including Walla Walla's first tally against Clackamas in the second minute of play.
Jones, out of Borah High School in Boise, was part of a strong sophomore class whose only loss in two years was a 1-0 setback to Northwest University on Sept. 6 of 2009.
"Words cant even describe it. You work your butt off for four months through the hot August summer and it comes down to a snowy day in Seattle," Jones said. "I think it meant a lot to all of us, but to be able to do it for Chad and for all the sophomores was amazing."
The win was pure redemption for Bodnar, who suffered through championship losses to Clackamas in 2005 and 2007 on this same field. The former Pasco High School player and boys coach was a part of a big winning history at his alma mater, but it meant a lot to help write a similar story at Walla Walla.
"This program has a great tradition. To win once is tough, but to win two is really special," said Bodnar, who was accompanied on the bench by his father, Bob. "It's definitely an honor to be here six times in a row. For a while we were on a streak of not winning. Since we got over the hump, it's gotten a little easier."
Jones' early goal made things somewhat easier, but it came on a costly error in judgement by Clackamas goalkeeper Melissa Ferguson. Jones was called on to take an indirect kick just outside the Cougars' 18-yard box just 1:40 into the game.
Jones was unaware at the time that it was an indirect kick, which has to touch another player before it can be ruled a goal. She lined her shot directly on frame.
But instead of letting it go -- in which case it would be ruled a goal kick -- Ferguson reacted on instinct and went for the save. But the ball went through her hands and into the net for a goal.
"Soccer requires a little bit of luck sometimes," said Clackamas coach Tracy Nelson, who guided the Cougars to NWAACC championships in 2004, 2005 and 2007. "It definitely wasn't our objective to get scored on in the first minute. It woke us up a bit."
But the quick goal wasn't such a great advantage, according to Bodnar.
"You get an early goal like that and then you have to turn around and play 89 more minutes, and we really didn't play well for the next 39 minutes," he said.
In the 32nd minute, Clackamas got its best chance to score, as South region MVP Jennifer Jackson dribbled up the left end line and centered a pass to Kahyra Ramirez in front of the net. But Ramirez's shot missed its mark, sailing just inches above the bar.
That was as close as the Cougars got. The Warriors' defense stayed solid to give Jordan Simkins her fourth shutout of the season.
Bodnar wasn't the only Pasco graduate to bask in the warmth of a championship. Former Bulldogs Kaylie Winston and Marianne Johnson both won a league title at Pasco in 2008, but neither has won a title of this magnitude.
"Nothing is better than an undefeated season," Winston said. "It's so good seeing everybody who worked so hard, knowing everybody did their part."
Scoring -- 1, WW, Justine Jones, 2:00; 2, WW, Margo Hickman (Brittney Lacey), 66:00. Shots -- C 5, WW 15. Saves -- C, Melissa Ferguson 6. WW, Jordan Simkins 2.