Sunday, October 12, 2014

CC Spokane sweeps Treasure Valley Saturday; and for the season

The Sasquatch posted a pair of shutouts Saturday afternoon at Spokane Falls, giving them a clean sweep in all meetings against the Chukars for the season, all of them shutout victories. The ladies used a pair of goals in the first 20 minutes to grab a 2-0 victory while the men snared a 1-0 result in the second half against the visitors.


Spokane took it to the Chukars early in the contest and never let up.

Photo Gallery [+] 
Five minute into the match Maddie Brown (Greenleaf, ID) took the ball in from the right corner and sent a ball into the six that had to be headed off the line by Alayna Campbell. Five minutes later Makenzie Welch (Meridian, ID) took the ball up the left side before curling in near the end line and sending a low cross through the mouth of the goal that none of the Bigfoot were able to get to. The ball, however, popped out to Rashelle Fisher, who narrowly missed a somewhat open chance from about 12 yards.

The Sasquatch then broke through with two goals in a three-minute span. A throw-in was directed in to Lexi Miller (Pasco, WA), who turned and found Hannah Sanders (Kennewick, WA). She then linked up to Sarah Melvin (Spokane, WA) for the finish from about 10 yards.

Two minutes later Fisher created the second goal, forcing a turnover off a goal kick. She took the ball off the defender and knocked it forward to Welch, who was rushing up to her left. Welch fired from about 14 yards out, putting it through the goalkeeper's hands.

"It went the way we wanted it to," said CC Spokane head coach Jim Martinson. "The girls wanted to get up in the East and they came out and they - the first 20 minutes I thought we played the best soccer we have played all year. Still got to polish up in front of the goal a little bit. We missed a couple of opportunities to put this game away. That's where we need to get better right now."

In the 23rd minute a Bigfoot corner nearly netted a third for the hosts. Sanders rose above everyone to meet it, but the ball smacked off the crossbar.

Treasure Valley then had a pair of chances to cut into the deficit. A ball sent in diagonally from the right was chested down in the area by Merhaweet Sahlezghi and directed to Madison Johnson (Idaho Falls, ID), whose shot from about 14 yards was slightly deflected and sent wide in the 25th minute.

A minute later Sierra Martinez (Boise, ID) poked her foot through a pair of Sasquatch defenders about 13 yards out, but the shot flew wide.

The Bigfoot similarly dominated the second half. Five minutes in Brittany Bruegeman (Spokane, WA) sent a ball from midfield up the left side for a wide open Welch to run onto. She drove into the area, where she sent a shot curling around the outside of the far post.

Four minutes later Melvin nearly got a second when the ball was worked into the area, but she fired right at the keeper.

With two minutes left in regulation, the Chukars nearly spoiled the shutout. A ball played diagonally into the area was chested and turned by a player in the middle of the box - though there were shouts for a handball on the play - to Brooke Thomas (McCall, ID), who sent a shot from about 11 yards out at an angle that hit the bottom of the post, ricocheting in front of the goal line where it was cleared out comfortably.

"We played a tough team. Spokane is well balanced," said Treasure Valley CC head coach Kelly Raddar. "Kudos to them; they came to play and they did a very good job. We had a game plan; it just didn't work. We executed the best we can. I think the better team won today, but it's not for lack of trying."

Emily Busselman (Richland, WA) recorded just one save in the contest for the Sasquatch to earn the shutout.

The Bigfoot, who won the previous match on the road 2-0 versus Treasure Valley, are now 11-1-1 with a four point lead now over the Chukars and 13 in front of third-place North Idaho.

"We'll take it," Martinson of getting a pair of shutouts against the division's number two side. "Down at their place it was two set pieces we scored on, so we knew we could be dangerous there. We had a chance early to get another set piece, but to get the goals in the run of the play... the girls were on. We talked about if Treasure Valley played that high line in the back to look to get balls through quick and stay onside. That first goal: the feed from Hannah was perfect; it was everything that we talked about.

At 10-3-0, the Chukars are still comfortably the second-best team in the division, nine points clear of North Idaho. A vast contrast to last season's 2-10-4 record that was the program's worst since going 2-14-2 in 2006. This would be the program's third playoff appearance since 2006, having finished third in 2008 and 2012.

"We have a lot of young players. The returning sophomores are quite motivated, coming back from last year," Raddar said of the team's dramatic turnaround season. "They didn't have quite the season they wanted to have last year. I am a new coach there; we have a system in place now. We have a program in place so we can actually learn and grow every day, and we are growing. We have six returning sophomores, the rest are freshman. We are excited about that."


Photo Gallery [+]
Though things were a bit breezy for the ladies contest, the conditions turned a little windier and a bit wet for the men's contest as a storm skirted the stadium. It was a bit fitting considering the Bigfoot men, mired in a tough playoff chase, were also skirting with trouble against the last-place Chukars.

The visitors took advantage of a Spokane side that struggled through much of the first half trying to maintain possession and get good opportunities, spending much more time in the offensive end of the field than first-place North Idaho did just a few nights prior at The Falls.

Fortunately, the defense seemed to clean things up at the last moment or goalkeeper Damian Ruiz (Richland, WA) was there to collect the ball, even the tricky wind.

Fourteen minutes in, however, the Bigfoot had arguably its best chance of the half when Robert Kissinger-Smith (Spokane, WA) received the ball on the left side and fired for the post from the top of the box only to have the keeper sprawl out to tip it just wide.

Six minutes later Devin Leon nearly put the Sasquatch on the board. Running forward sandwiched between two defenders, he was able to strike the ball from about 16 yards, but the effort missed the mark.

Treasure Valley nearly stunned the hosts at the half-hour mark when the Bigfoot fouled a Chukar play at the very edge of the area inside the penalty arc. The initial free kick was stopped, but the third attempt to put something on frame by the visitors nearly struck gold, deflecting off a defender and forcing a reaction save from Rodriguez.

The Bigfoot would find the deciding goal in the second half just after an hour had elapsed. Leon connected with Alex Opland (Rathdrum, ID) for the winner in the 61st minute and the defense held on for the shutout, giving them a 3-0 aggregate total against the Chukars this season with the same pair accounting for a goal and two assists combined in their road win.

««« Action Photos: Gerald Barnhart »»»