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Chiefs boot Lewis & Clark, 3-2

by CASEY MCCARTHY
Staff Writer | September 9, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake High School girls soccer team held off some late scares for a 3-2 victory over Lewis & Clark High School Tuesday at Lions Field.

The Tigers put on pressure from the start, with Moses Lake keeper Gabby Vela saving a shot from the top of the box just over 10 minutes into the first half.

The Chiefs scored first on a shot from sophomore Xitlali Murillo from just outside the box, curling over the outstretched hands of the Tigers goalkeeper to put Moses Lake ahead.

Chiefs defender Anna Ribellia’s free kick from at least 30-40 yards out glanced off a defender to put Moses Lake ahead 2-0 with just over 15 minutes left in the first half.

The Tigers answered with a goal of their own with eight minutes left in the half. Junior Bailey Richie didn’t take long to respond with a rocket shot from the left side of the field into the right side of the net to push the score to 3-1 before halftime.

In the second half, freshman transfer Meadow Saenz came up with a huge clearance on defense, blocking a goal midway through the second half. Lewis & Clark finally managed a second goal with about 12 minutes to play, to trim the deficit.

Senior forward Natalie Bunch drew a penalty shot with about six minutes to play, with Kaydence Martinez taking the shot. Martinez’ shot and follow-up attempt were both blocked.

A tying goal for the Tigers was waved off by an offsides call with just under three minutes left on the clock, and the Chiefs held their lead through the final whistle.

Gabby Vela finished with 10 saves in the win for Moses Lake.

Anna Ribellia said after the game that she felt like the defense played pretty well, with some new faces stepping into the mix.

“We’re still figuring it out, to be honest; it’s not my favorite position,” Ribellia said. “I’d rather be playing on the outside, but I’m just glad my teammates put up with me, I’m kind of a micromanager.”

Moses Lake assistant coach Ric Char said the Chiefs got outplayed for most of the night, but credited the girls for pushing through against a tough opponent with only a handful of subs at their disposal.

Senior Natalie Bunch won Columbia Basin Big 9 Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, and Char said she’s the best striker in the league.

“She was motivated, too, playing against a bunch of her club teammates tonight,” Char said.

Bunch’s offensive firepower will be a key component of the Chiefs success this season as Moses Lake looks to retool a defensive back line that lost key seniors last spring.

Freshmen Meadow Saenz and Ingrid De La Rosa are both “fearless” players who will be key for the Chiefs moving forward this year, Char said.

Next up for Moses Lake soccer will be a trip to face Cashmere High School tonight at 6:30 p.m.