Thursday, September 10, 2015

CC Spokane wins home opener versus Highline

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The Sasquatch ladies continued their outstanding start in non-league play by moving to 3-0-1 with a dominant performance against 2014 quarterfinalist Highline at Spokane Falls CC Tuesday afternoon in a 3-1 victory.

The game started out with a bit of dichotomy as the visitors were holding the better of possession, but it was the Bigfoot who had the vast majority of quality of chances in front of goal and took far more corners than the Thunderbirds.

All those corners began to pay off, though, for Spokane, and in the 35th minute a ball served in from Kelsi Walker soared inches over the heads of several players in front of goal and fell to Alysha Overland at the far side of the six for the opening tally. That particular chance was created when Maddy Boyd was put on a run to goal off a ball up the left side. As she neared the corner of the six uncontested she fired a near-post shot that the keeper knocked out of play.

Just as the Bigfoot were nearing intermission, Highline put themselves back into the mix with a great individual effort from Arianna Fiorillo, who received the ball just outside the area and split two Bigfoot defenders on a diagonal dribble towards the right, firing back to the left post just inches out of goalkeeper Emily Busselman's reach as she found an open window in the 44th.

Thirteen minutes into the second half the Sasquatch reclaimed the lead on nice shot from Moscrip, who got the ball at the top of the box and touched it forward before shooting to the left post. The keeper stuffed effort, but the ball squirted slowly toward goal before she and a defender recovered to knock it away for another successful Sasquatch corner. This time Walker's service found the head of Moscrip about 13 yards in front of goal.

"That was a point of emphasis at halftime," said CC Spokane Head Coach Jim Martinson about the advantage they had in corners. "We knew they weren't defending the corner well so we told em that was a point we were going to score. Sure enough Cali comes up and gets a huge goal in the second half."

From there the Bigfoot clamped down on the visitors and did not allow much, adding some insurance of their own in the 82nd on some excellent work from Sarah Melvin and Overland.

A ball forward over the defense on the left side resulted in Melvin challenging a defender for the ball as it was being worked back to midfield. Melvin's hustle on the play led to Overland winning the ball and taking it back up the left side, where she eventually created a gap with her defender. The opening allowed her to slot a low cross into the box where Melvin had run up into some open space for what was a wide-open, easy finish from about eight yards.

"We worked on D. We worked on defense a lot through camp," said CC Spokane Head Coach Jim Martinson. "That was our focus - keep the ball out of the goal and we knew the goals would come."

The defensive work is definitely showing. The team limited Highline's opportunities in the final third and the lone goal they did allow in the match was only the second in the four games they have played thus far. In addition to playing a quarterfinalist in the Thunderbirds, the Sasquatch opened with a road trip the previous week that started with a 1-1 draw against 2014 semifinalists Lane and a 1-0 victory against the reigning NWAC champions. Melvin set up Overland's opening goal four minutes into the tie against Lane, which scored with three minutes remaining for the draw, and then scored the winner with 10 minutes left against Everett on a ball from Moscrip. The other result was a 12-0 win against league newcomers Portland CC.

"We've been successful with all of them so we are excited about where we are at now," Martinson said of the games against fellow NWAC tournament teams. "As far as tuning up in preseason, we got the challenges we wanted. We got pressure put on us. We got a few more steps to go for region play, but I think we are ready."

The results so far point to a squad that should be a favorite to contend for the title yet again, and that's despite the fact that coach Martinson says they are not done implementing an offensive system.

"Right now we are not polished in front of the goal. We don't have our system completely put together up top yet, but its coming. It's coming. We have the players that can do it. We just have to run through system and some patterns and we'll sharpen up. And, we are young; a lot of young kids out there so we'll be better.

"We are excited. Like I said, we are young. We had 10 freshman on the field there for a while so not only are we excited about this season, but about the future."

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