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Wahluke scores four second-half goals, defeats College Place

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | April 10, 2024 3:18 PM

MATTAWA — Two early goals were enough for the Wahluke boys soccer team to take down College Place on Tuesday, defeating the Eagles 6-1 to improve to 9-1 this spring.

“We’ve been craving that,” Wahluke head coach Cele Lopez said of the team’s start to the match. “We need to start that way every single game. The boys, I think they’re getting the hang of it. They’re realizing that if we start strong, we don’t struggle as much. We run less, we keep possession of the ball and we can manage the timing of the game.”

Senior Diego Olivares netted two goals early in the match, both of which came in the fifth minute. The senior noted the team’s chemistry as a significant factor in Tuesday’s win.

“We just started out as a collective,” Olivares said. “The whole team was there, we were all on the same page. We all understood each other pretty well, we all understood our playing styles — especially the freshmen and the seniors, we all connect very well, and that’s what I feel some teams don’t have.”

College Place got a goal back in the sixth minute, capitalizing off of a counter and sneaking past the Warrior defense. The shot that led to the goal was College Place’s only shot on the Warrior net.

“I told the boys, ‘Mistakes are a part of the game,’” Lopez said. “You have two options; either stick with that mistake, or you turn it around and go fix it. They turned it around and fixed it, and that is how we’re managing the season. Mistakes, they’re always going to happen, so we prepare how to fix them.”

Junior Alvaro Rodriguez scored in the 45th minute, junior Diego Perez scored in the 53rd minute, junior Luis Corona scored in the 67th minute and sophomore Rafael Rodriguez capped off the scoring with a 75th-minute goal.

The win was Wahluke’s fifth in a row, improving the Warriors to 9-1 this season; Wahluke’s only loss was a 2-1 home loss to Warden on March 19. Playing as a unit has helped surge the Warriors so far this season.

“In previous years we were all in separate little groups, and it wasn’t there as a whole team,” Olivares said. “I feel like the passion, the effort is all there in one team, and it really plays into that Somos Uno (the team’s mantra) character that we all strive for.”

That sense of team bonding has branched its way off the field, Lopez said; Warrior players have been helping each other in the classroom and hanging out with one another off the field, as well as coming together on the field come match and practice time.

“It makes me fall in love with the game a little bit more,” Lopez said. 

Ahead of Tuesday’s game, Wahluke reached No. 2 in the WIAA’s Rating Percentage Index for 1A boys soccer.

“That motivates us even more,” Olivares said. “During this game, we kind of showed out; showed what No. 2 is about.”

Tuesday’s match was the first game since March 28 for Wahluke, with no games being scheduled over the school’s spring break. 

“The break was really good for us because we could recover a couple of players that were suffering from some injury,” Lopez said. “We didn’t stop practicing — we did some internal scrimmages, so it was a really good week.”

Wahluke hosts Ellensburg for a non-league game Thursday at 4 p.m.

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

Box scores

CLPL: 1-0 1

WAHL: 2-4 6

    Wahluke senior Alessandro Maravilla (20) looks to steal the ball away from a College Place player on the attack.
 
 
    Wahluke junior Alex Acevedo (6) shoots the ball in front of the College Place net in the first half.
 
 
    Wahluke teammates celebrate with junior Alvaro Rodriguez (4) after he scored a goal in the second half against College Place.