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WOMEN :: Treasure Valley 1-3 CC Spokane
"I think maybe a little bit of our youth. We get wound up about being a contender in the East and they don't respond well; I don't know," CC Spokane women's Head Coach Jim Martinson said of the rough start. "That was our worst 20 minutes we've played this whole season. We knew we'd be ok. We knew we were the better team - we didn't respond well to someone coming in and putting pressure on us. I think it was just mental at that point."
And they were fine.
A sign of things to come, two minutes later a ball forward into the left side of the box created a race between Sarah Melvin and goalkeeper Fernanda Rogel in which the Bigfoot striker won, only to see her toe poke squeak past the left post.
The hosts finally found the equalizer in the 38th minute when hustle on the left side of the field led to a cross from the corner that sailed over the keeper and was headed away by a defender. Melvin charged in and tried knocking it in with her head off the bounce, but it was blocked. The rebound, however, came out to Maddy Boyd, who stepped up and scored from about 13 yards.
"I think that's who we are. I think we are the better team. We just need to get the ball to our feet, connect the dots. And when we do that we are tough to deal with. Early on we give the ball away, we give it to the other team and put ourselves under pressure. Once we settle in, we play to ourselves and our attack is tough to stop. We knew it was coming, it was just patience."
Spokane controlled the second half, but the Chukars nearly tied things up in the 58th minute when a long shot from about 26 yards by Brooklyn Pawelek whistled just over the crossbar.
The hosts kept the game in check though and off a corner with about four minutes remaining in the match, they added some insurance courtesy of a great individual play from Melvin. After the set piece was cleared away to her, she made a fantastic 70-yard run with the ball, beating two defenders as she crossed midfield and eventually scoring from a sharp angle about 14 yards out on the right side.
"We went really defensive, we dropped some players in and left Sarah up there alone. Big Game Melvin, that's what we call her."
Though the visitors had a few looks in the second game of the doubleheader, it was a one-sided affair from the outset with the striker duo of Eric Sanchez-Flores and Johnny Cortez created havoc inside the box for the Chukar defense and goalkeeper Mauricio Huerta.
Sanchez-Flores drove into the box twice in the opening 12 minutes only to have Huerta deny him point-blank on challenges on both occasions.
Though they got the opening tally, they still had issues for a while longer as Huerta again denied Sanchez-Flores on a chance in the 24th and after eluding the goalkeeper in the 29th, Cortez sent his shot narrowly wide left. Four minutes before the break Sanchez-Flores got behind the defense on the right side and slotted it into the six, past the keeper, and Cortez slid in for it, but was unable to direct it into the open goal.
But as time was about to run out in the period, the Bigfoot struck gold - twice.
Esquivel made a great play, running through a high bouncing ball and getting control of it as he drove forward to the area, sending it to Cortez for the finish in the 45th minute. Just moments later in stoppage time, Sanchez-Flores found Cortez for his second goal of the match and three-goal halftime margin.
"For our guys, I think it's that confidence," said CC Spokane men's Head Coach Kenny Krestian. "Put the ball in the back of the net and they kind of relax a little bit, they loosen up and they start finding the back of the net."
Four minutes later Sanchez-Flores got his second of the game courtesy of Cortez. A throw-in at midfield on the right side came to Cortez, who chested it and turned to go forward. Seeing Sanchez-Flores on a diagonal run from the left side, Cortez delivered a perfect through ball to his streaking teammate, who was alone behind the defense and beat the keeper for an empty-net finish.
"We've been working a lot on our shape and how we transition into the attack from defense," Krestian said of their fluid and dynamic play on the day."Really proud of the steps they have taken each match."
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