Saturday, September 21, 2013

CC Spokane women top Green River, tie Whatcom; men edge Whatcom 1-0

The Bigfoot men and women remain after going combined 2-0-1 on the weekend | Photos: Gerald Barnhart
The CC Spokane men and women finished the weekend unbeaten with the ladies kicking things off with a 4-0 victory over visiting Green River CC on Friday and continuing their two-day outing with a 1-1 draw against Whatcom CC in a Saturday doubleheader that saw the men come away victorious 1-0.

Whatcom CC 0 :: 1 CC Spokane - MEN

With the CC Spokane attack unable to find their finishing touch on the day, the outcome hinged on the performance of the Bigfoot back line that bent but never broke as they posted a much-needed shutout performance backstopped by Curtis Hill, who was not seriously tested.

"With Travis Hill in there; just such a big kid that he leads very well, he's mobile. And then Jacob Fitterer (Spokane, WA) is a good co-man in there at centerback; they just organize it really well," said CC Spokane men's head coach Kenny Krestian. "They know when to step to the ball, when to drop; really pleased with where we're out now. We gave up goals early in the season and we are starting to get to the point where we're not giving up goals now."

Chris Donich - GALLERY (available soon)
The defense nearly sparked the opening goal 17 minutes in when Travis Hill (Spokane, WA) launched a long free kick from the defensive end that soared into the area at the other end of the pitch. Xavier Day (Cheney, WA) and Jared Fretheim (Spokane, WA) both had looks at the ball, but were unable to make full contact to put a shot on goal as the opportunity faded away.

Seven minutes later though, the Sasquatch would finally get the deciding tally on a play that began with a corner on the left side. The ball flew over the rising players in the box and came down to Alex Opland (Rathdrum, ID) at the far side. He collected the ball and after working free from the defender on his back, delivered a well-driven cross through the six that was headed in by Chris Donich (Spokane, WA).

"I think it was a match where we couldn't put our killer instinct into it and just the one goal in it today; and, they were really the most dangerous off of their set pieces - the silly fouls we would give away 30 yards out caused us the most problems today."

With five minutes left in the half Devin Leon nearly doubled the advantage with a free kick from 24 yards that was headed to the upper left side of the goal only to see the ball stopped by visiting goalkeeper Andrew Wildfong.

Three minutes into the second half, the Bigfoot missed out on a perfect opportunity to push the lead to two when Leon sent a moderately-paced penalty just off center, allowing Wildfong to make the stop and hold onto the rebound. The penalty was set up when Fretheim sent the ball to Leon, who drove into the area and was fouled on the left side.

In the 65th minute Spokane had another good chance foiled by Wildfong when a 35-yard blast was destined for the inside of the left post only to be sent wide by the keeper's outstretched fingertips at the last second.

The contest concluded with physical, chippy play as frustration set in amongst the Whatcom side and grew as calls did not go their way, including three separate shouts for a penalty at the other end. Ultimately, abusive language directed at the assistant referee cost Codi Woodcock, as he was sent off with about 10 minutes left, allowing the Bigfoot to run out the clock with relative ease.

Whatcom CC 1 :: 1 CC Spokane - WOMEN

Megan O'Keefe
The Bigfoot women dominated on the day, but were only able to rally for a draw against a Whatcom side they defeated in the NWAACC Quarterfinals, 3-1, a year ago, keeping their unbeaten record for the season going. Facing their stiffest competition since a 1-1 draw versus Highline at the NWAACC friendlies, the Sasquatch controlled much of the contest but were unable to beat goalkeeper Megan O'Keefe more than once, canceling out the one mistake on their own end.

"It's a game I think we should have won," said CC Spokane women's head coach Jim Martinson. "I think Whatcom was a good team; I think we had chances; I think we made the adjustments at halftime, and we were close. We just didn't get it done. It's two points, hopefully that don't come back to haunt us like the Everett points."

Eleven minutes into the contest a long service from well out on the right flank sent in by Taylor Strasser (Spokane, WA) nearly dropped in at the far post after being misjudged by the keeper, but O'Keefe was able to stretch out backwards to snare the ball and never looked bad the rest of the day as she turned away several certain goals.

Two minutes later, a turnover put striker Kylie Garrison behind the Bigfoot back line where she had plenty of space to run on her breakaway before putting it past Emily Moscrip (Lewiston, ID) from about 16 yards.

"One mistake. It's something we learn from. It's one of those things we have been dealing with a lot all year is coming from one side of the field and swinging it over to the other - simple as opening your hips. But, we learn; we learn from it and we'll get better. Kassie Torres (Coeur d'Alene, ID) is a hell of a player; she wouldn't be there if we didn't believe in her."

From that point, though, the Sasquatch defense stood firm, allowing very few chances for the visitors while keeping O'Keefe busy at the other end. Four minutes later a corner found the head of Tasha Luu (Colville, WA) on a dangerous chance. In the 23rd minute, defender Kayleen Oliver (Medical Lake, WA) delivered a ball to Luu, who turned from about 30 yards out and drove to goal before firing a shot that the keeper stopped and quickly gathered.

Rachelle Fisher - GALLERY (available soon)
"Their goalkeeper did a good job. Whether she's lucky or talented, I don't know; but she looked talented. I thought she made some pretty good saves that a lot of goalkeepers in this league would not have made. I think she was a big reason why the result was the way it was."

At the half-hour mark, the Bigfoot brought the contest to level terms with a ball up the middle through the sea of players by Kat Tsoukalas (Kennewick, WA) that connected with Rashelle Fisher on a short run to goal inside the area where she was able to beat the keeper at the six.

Try as they might, the Sasquatch could not find the winner though. Four minutes into the period Luu launched a great shot from about 23 yards that was headed high inside the left post only to see O'Keefe stretch out for a nice save. Eight minutes later Tsoukalas was narrowly off the mark with a shot from 24 that skipped just inches wide of the right post.

The final quality opportunity came in the 70th when Luu displayed a great individual effort. Starting on the top right edge of the area she worked her way to the left side, showcasing some nice footwork to keep possession before turning back toward the right and finding some daylight. She took the opportunity to rip a shot that went off the near left post. Fisher was there for the rebound, but O'Keefe quickly dove to smother the ball before she could put it away.

"Good weekend - we tested the character of some players yesterday against a softer team, and we were a little disappointed in the way we played as a whole yesterday. We came back today and I thought we played well. It wasn't our best, but we played well."

Green River CC 0 :: 4 CC Spokane - WOMEN (Friday)

Rainey Pelzel, Tasha Luu - GALLERY 
A pair of goals each from Luu and Pelzel led the Bigfoot to an easy win to open the weekend Friday afternoon at Spokane Falls CC.

Starters Laura Seymour (Spokane, WA) and Strasser sat the game out with minor injuries while Luu made a first-half appearance in return from her ankle injury as the Sasquatch welcomed considerably weaker opposition Friday afternoon. The game opened with a pair of quick goals in the first 10 minutes, well before the visitors even held any possession in the attacking third at the other end.

Six minutes in Missy Atablo (Spokane, WA) sent a ball forward to Luu in the right side box, where she took a couple touches and buried it past the keeper. Three minutes later a corner from the left side to the far corner of the six found Tsoukalas, who drove it on goal. The ball was initially stopped by goalkeeper Molly Lambert, but rolled away from her feet and was put away on the rebound by Rainey Pelzel.

Pelzel was a continual threat on the day, flying down the left flank all alone time after time after time, delivering endless crosses into the area and driving in on goal nearly uncontested on several occasions. The Bigfoot's third goal of the day came from one of these situations when Pelzel flew down the wing and drove into the box before slotting it centrally for Luu to finish in the 26th.

Pelzel capped the scoring with her second of the day in the 74th minute. This time she took a ball from Oliver just to the left of the box and cut squarely across the area 16 yards out, launching a shot on the run into the far side netting.

By the close of the match, nearly every player on the squad has seen time on the pitch, including 11 freshman to start the second half as the newcomers to the squad were given significant time on the pitch to acquire some experience.