MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake soccer opened up its Columbia Basin Big Nine District Tournament play with a win over Eisenhower, 4-1.
The Chiefs came out early, firing on all cylinders and poured shots on goal quickly as they kept pressure in the Eisenhower end of the field. The pressure finally gave way to a goal five minutes in as Kaydence Martinez fed the ball in to Natalie Bunch for the opening goal of the game for Moses Lake.
The Cadets were able to respond with a goal of their win about four minutes later as an Eisenhower ball launched in from near the sideline found its way over Moses Lake keeper Julia Lundberg’s outstretched hands to even the game at 1-1.
Both sides traded blows for about 10 minutes before a free kick was awarded to the Chiefs. Olivia Waites played a ball over the defense that found Bunch again, who arched a crafty flipped shot over the keeper and into the back of the net for her second goal of the half, giving Moses Lake back the lead.
The sophomore forward capped off a first half hat trick with just over five minutes to go, as she blew past a slew of Eisenhower defenders and played a ball off the inside of the side post to put Moses Lake ahead 3-1 going into the second half.
The Chiefs added to their lead ten minutes into the second half as Waites knocked in a shot from outside the box to give Moses Lake a three-goal advantage. The Chiefs kept the pressure on for the most of the second half, hitting eight shots on goal to just three for Eisenhower.
Moses Lake would take the match and advance to the next round of the District tournament.
Chiefs head coach Liz Bigger said she liked the speed and energy her team came out with early on in the game, and said they may have even been a bit too excited early.
“It took us a while to get back and get settled, we gave out a lot of uncontrollable balls,” Bigger said. “But we sure tried, we sure tried to get those passes in there. I was actually really proud that they fired up and did that.”
Switching up their formation, playing just three in the back on defense, Bigger said she was really impressed with Alexis Lesser-Cedillo in the back line in the match. The Moses Lake coach said her sophomore defender did a great job of being in the right space at the right time, winning the balls she needed to in no-man’s land.
Up next for Moses Lake, the Chiefs host Davis on Thursday at 4 p.m., a team that handed them a heartbreaking defeat just last week. Bigger said they’re a strong team, but if her players can play as well as they did against Eisenhower they should be in good shape.
“We’ve gotta come out hard, we’ve gotta cover their girls that are threats, we just have to play 80 minutes and, if we do that, we should have it for Saturday,” Bigger said.
With a young core, the Chiefs picked up the win after suffering back-to-back losses to end the regular season after vying for a top district seed. Bigger said she can only motivate her players so much, and, in the end, it comes down to them.
“They know what it feels like to lose and it’s going to feel worse at this point in the season,” Bigger said. “So you might as well feel like you gave 110 percent on the field because it makes that loss a little bit better.”