Unbeaten Warden sets up another showdown with La Salle in SCAC district title match

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Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Warden midfielder Aaliyah Escamilla (6) slides in to contest a ball with Cle Elum-Roslyn's Grace Jackson (4) during the first half of Tuesday's SCAC district match in Warden.

WARDEN — Warden set up another run at La Salle for the SCAC district championship on Thursday at Royal with a big win over Cle Elum-Roslyn (11-4-1) on a night were temperatures dipped below 50 degrees.

The Cougars (15-0) took a 9-1 lead into the intermission and capped off the one-sided SCAC district semifinal with a 10-3 win. Senior Aubree Skone had a hat trick in the first half, including back-to-back goals within two minutes of each other to make it 7-1 with 5:15 remaining in the first half. Skone, a first-team all-SCAC East selection, also had the first score of the night waved off when she was just getting warmed up. Aaliyah Escamilla, second team all-SAC East, had two first-half goals, as did midfielder Bailey Whitney, who shared the SCAC East player of the year with Connell’s Mattie Mauseth.

“I thought we played intense tonight. It’s nice to see the girls play for each other,” said Cougars coach Hannah Mohs, who was named the SCAC East coach of the year. “Our midfield was great. Aaliyah held her own at center-mid, and thought we controlled their two best players (Grace Terrill and Grace Jackson).

“My defenders are under-appreciated. They stopped goals tonight, but actually set up our forwards. Without them, the ball wouldn’t get up there or be distributed. So they need a lot of credit.”

Whitney scored in the 13th minute and again inside of two before the intermission. She liked the way the Cougs distributed the ball at the midfield.

“The defense has been good about pushing up, which helps a lot,” Whitney said. “We had beautiful balls to the forwards, so that was awesome too.

“It helps with distribution when we can push up as far as we were. We’re pretty fast and able to adjust, so they couldn’t (start throwing long balls over the top).”

The Cougars’ defense allowed just one score against in the first half and the final two scores against came against the reserves. All in all, Warden played like an unbeaten team on its way to a district championship match.

“I’m usually a right defender, so I try to push the forwards out on her run to the sidelines. We run a flat four in the back, sometimes we switch to a diamond, but tonight we were able to keep them wide,” senior Melanie Cazares said. “We like the switching back and forth dynamic from flat to the diamond.”

The Cougars have a repeat turn at La Salle, which beat them in the district semifinals last year. They play on the turf at Royal’s David Nielsen Stadium Thursday at 6 p.m.

“Now that we have our confidence back, I think it’ll be a really intense game with La Salle under the lights at Royal,” Cazares said. “The thing about playing on turf is that it’s all speed and all balls in the air.

“We’ve been going over mastering the ball in the air and trying to control it on the first bounce. Playing on turf means changing defense and pushing up to catch it early.”

Cle Elum-Roslyn 1 2 - 3

Warden 9 1 - 10

W - Aaliyah Escamilla

W - Aaliyah Escamilla

W - Kasandra Rodriguez

W - Aubree Skone

CR - Madison Taylor

W - Bailey Whitney

W - Aubree Skone

W - Aubree Skone (Ashlyn Yamane)

W - Bailey Whitney

W - Cathy Mendoza

CR - Grace Terrill

CR - Grace Terrill

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