ROYAL CITY — Royal soccer handed Wahluke their first conference loss of the season at home, defeating the Warriors 4-3 in penalties, after a 0-0 draw through extra time.
Wahluke was able to generate plenty of chances in both halves, finishing with 15 shots, 10 on goal for the game, though most of the Warriors’ looks came from outside the box. The Knights were able to put just two shots towards goal in the match, with one on frame.
Still, Royal was able to keep the Warriors from putting anything in the back of the net in a hard fought battle between the two teams, forcing the match to go into penalties.
Wahluke took an early lead in penalties, but the Knights were able to quickly even the score back up at 2-2. The score was even at 3-3 after the first five penalty kicks for each side, with Royal taking the advantage on the sixth shot from Raylie Wardenaar.
Down 4-3, the Wahluke penalty went high as Royal keeper Chenoa Louie ensured it didn’t take a bounce in as the Knights walked away with the victory. Royal moved to 5-2 in the league, while Wahluke suffered a first defeat, moving to 6-1.
Alondra Lozano led both teams with five shots, four on goal in the game. Lindsey Carrasco finished with the lone shot on goal for the Knights in regulation. Louie finished with nine saves for Royal in regulation.
The Knights fell to Wahluke in their matchup earlier in the season in Mattawa, 2-0. Royal head coach Jens Jensen said he felt his team got outworked in their previous meeting, and said they made an emphasis to not let that happen again in this matchup.
“We were really trying to fix that today, and I think thats what we did, try and win the midfield and be tough and try and shut them down,” Jensen said. “Wahluke has quite a few dangerous players that, if you let them, they’ll hurt you.”
Picking up the win, Jensen said, was good but that showing that they can be tough defensively was equally important. Finishing with just two shots to Wahluke’s 15, Jensen said, wasn’t a concern to him playing against a top team in the Warriors.
“When you’re playing against the team thats in first place, you don’t sweat it,” Jensen said. “You just make sure you don’t get scored on, and defend first.”
Wahluke head coach Cele Lopez said after the game that the transition from grass to turf may have affected some of his team’s play in the match, but was proud of his team
“There’s nothing I can say negative because we created a lot,” Lopez said. “They fought hard, it was a really good game. And then penalties, it is what it is.”
Next up for the Knights is a trip to face Connell next Tuesday, while Wahluke’s next matchup is at home the same day against Kiona-Benton.