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Late comeback falls short, Wahluke falls 2-1 to Connell

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | October 5, 2022 1:42 PM

MATTAWA – The Wahluke Warriors entered Tuesday’s match against Connell with a 6-1-1 record through eight games, and trying to pick up the team’s third conference win of the season.

The attempt fell through, as Connell walked off the field with a 2-1 win over Wahluke. Coaches and players alike said that the team came out flat in the game against the Eagles.

“We came in strong,“ Wahluke senior defender Michelle Miranda said of the team entering the game. “Don’t know what happened during the game. We had a positive mindset that today was going to be a good game, and we just didn’t show up.”

After losing a majority of the team’s defensive starters a year ago to graduation, Coach Sele Lopez said that the team had been playing well defensively. Through the first eight games, the Warriors had outscored opponents 21-7.

“We were doing really good (defensively),” Lopez said of the team’s start to the season defensively. “You can look at our scores and it’s just a goal here, a goal there. We were holding it together for a few games.”

Both teams had opportunities to score in the first half but ended the first 40 minutes with a 0-0 tie. The Eagles had a corner kick from the right side of the net in the 34th minute, but an attempt to score on a header went over the top post. Similarly, the Warriors had three corner kicks by sophomore Esmeralda Islas during first-half stoppage time that all ended with no goals scored.

“It’s all about intensity, it’s all about how bad do you want it,” Lopez said. “And today, we didn’t show up.”

The Eagles didn’t wait long after the half to score their first goal, connecting on a penalty kick after a slide tackle in the 44th minute. 11 minutes later, Connell added its second goal on a strike to the left side of the net.

“Today was our worst game of the season,” Lopez said. “I’ve seen a lot of progress in the last games, in the last month. We had a really good game versus Royal, we had a really good game versus Toppenish and the energy level was on point. Today, we were just not there.”

The Warriors had opportunities to cut into the lead in the second half, notably on a shot in the 62nd minute. Late in the game, Wahluke scored after a penalty kick by Hiselle Bernal hit the top of the post, but Bernal tapped it in herself seconds later.

“I’m happy that they kept pushing at the end, but I think it was too late,” Lopez said. “It was more luck than soccer.”

During second-half stoppage time, Wahluke had two shots on the Connell goal that were missed, ending the hopes for extra time and a 2-1 loss. With the loss, Wahluke drops to 6-2-1 on the year.

“Showing up with the right attitude, that means a lot in this game,” Miranda said.

The Warriors return to the field for a home match against Kiona-Benton City tonight at 4 p.m.

“This is soccer sometimes – we’re not going to be able to connect those passes, we’re not going to be able to play nice, we’re not going to be able to play really good soccer,” Lopez said. “It’s the energy level. If you keep the intensity, I think we’re going to be pretty decent.”

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

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Ian Bivona/Columbia Basin Herald

Wahluke sophomore Maria Barajas fights off an incoming Connell player to keep possession of the ball.

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Ian Bivona/Columbia Basin Herald

Wahluke senior Hiselle Bernal races past a Connell defender on her way to take a shot on the net.

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