EAST WENATCHEE — The result of the second meeting of the Eastmont and Moses Lake girls soccer teams was the same at the first, but the outlook afterward couldn’t have been more different.
After losing 8-1 to the Chiefs in September, the 3-0 Wildcats defeat on Tuesday was something that was more than encouraging for a 3-4-0 Wildcats team fighting for a good seed in the district tournament.
“As a coach, all that you really want throughout the season is to see improvement,” Eastmont head coach Erin Kavanaugh said after the game at Wildcat Stadium. “We noticed on the sidelines, the girls noticed it playing, we’re playing a lot more aggressively and much more confidently. Finally. I think we found it. We might have found our stride.”
Moses Lake’s leading scorer Alysha Overland was out with a concussion, but her twin sister Stephanie moved up from her usual midfielder position to score a hat trick, which gave the Chiefs all they needed to win the Big Nine tilt.
“Our middle suffered a little because (Stephanie is) usually back there, keeping that defense tight, but we needed her up top with her pace, and that really helped a lot,” Moses Lake head coach Rick Char said. “What can I say? I have two good twin sisters.”
Overland scored in the third, 27th and 76th minute, but Eastmont keeper Savannah Jackson did have a solid game in net as the junior recorded six saves.
Wildcat midfielder Jerusha Pech paced the suddenly-assertive Cats and almost scored from 40 yards out on a free kick in the first half.
“We’ve had some talks about how she needs to be one of the ones to definitely step it up,” Kavanaugh said. “Even though she’s not a senior, she is definitely a good leader. She has a way of communicating with people without upsetting them.”
The Wildcats have three winnable matches — at Davis and at home against Sunnyside and Eisenhower — remaining on their schedule, and Kavanaugh said it is one of the team’s objectives to win out to ensure a No. 3 seed in the Big Nine district tournament.
“Playoffs are always the goal, first is to improve, second is to go on to the playoffs,” she said. “We’ll be sitting pretty well if we go from 0-5 to sitting third in league — that’s the goal.”
But before the team can set its sights on the postseason, it will have to beat Davis on the road.
“(We’re) hoping to go down there and get a ‘W.’ We only beat them by one up here, but we had a little bit of a breakdown toward the end,” Kavanaugh said. “They’re a team that we can handle as long as we play hard for 80 minutes. As soon as we start letting up, they’ll make us pay for it.”
Wenatchee 1, Eisenhower 0
Emily Rader’s goal in the 10th minute was enough for Wenatchee, which boosted its Big Nine record to 6-1.
“Our effort was a little down in the first half, but we stepped up in the second half,” said Wenatchee coach John Springer. “We created a lot of shots. We weren’t able to put the ball in the back of the net (more than once), but a win is a win, and we’ll take it.”
Wenatchee will take on Big Nine-leading Moses Lake on Tuesday.
“It will be a challenge,” Springer said. “Our defenders and midfielders will have to be alert because Moses Lake attacks with a lot of numbers.”
Cashmere 10, Quincy 0
Tianna Helm scored three goals, and Lauren Johnson and Quinn Kenoyer added two goals and two assists each as the host Bulldogs (10-1, 9-0 CTL) blanked Quincy, holding the Jackrabbits without a shot.
“We got into one of those rhythms where we were scoring goals repeatedly on every shot (in the second half),” said Cashmere coach Dennis Tronson. “(Goals) have been coming in bunches for us (lately).”
Moses Lake 3, Eastmont 1
The Wildcats submitted one of their most complete matches of the season losing to Moses Lake 17-25, 22-25, 25-22, 23-25.
“We came with a winning mindset. Our goal was to do everything possible to give ourselves a chance to win,” Eastmont head coach Molly Nelson said. “It was a rush for us tonight at the gym. The girls were on fire and inspired each other and inspired themselves. They battled to the very, very end.”
Jessica Prewitt had 23 assists, Madison Ransford had 13 kills and four aces and Serena Riley had five kills, three aces and two blocks.
“I think we’re finally starting to believe that as a team we can contend and compete with the other teams in our league,” Nelson said. “I hope we can keep believing.”
Eastmont plays Davis on Tuesday, and if the Wildcats can beat the Pirates and Sunnyside, they could sneak into the fourth spot of the district playoffs.
Eisenhower 3, Wenatchee 0
Visiting Wenatchee was swept 24-14, 25-19, 25-18 by Big Nine-leading Eisenhower, which has a two-game lead over the second-place Panthers with three games to play.
“This would’ve been a big (win),” said Wenatchee coach LeAnne Branam. “If we would’ve won out, we could’ve been co-champs, but now I’m pretty sure that Eisenhower will have the league championship under their belt.”
Branam said Wenatchee (5-2 Big Nine) didn’t play well in any facet of the game.
“We moved some players to different positions, and everybody was off,” she said. “We didn’t find the flow. It wasn’t one single person; we didn’t pass well, we didn’t set well, we didn’t block well, we didn’t serve well.”
Rachel Leiber led the Panthers with five kills.
Cascade 3, Omak 0
Eliana Ala’ilima-Daley had 13 kills and five digs to lead host Cascade to a 25-15, 25-8, 25-12 win over Omak.
The Kodiaks (9-0 Caribou Trail League), ranked third in the latest Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association state 1A poll, will play No. 2 Chelan on Thursday.
“We were focusing on Omak tonight,” said Cascade coach Marni McMahon. “We’re not buying into the hype. We’re playing well right now, and we want to stay where we’re at, no matter who’s across the net. We’ve played big matches all year, so we’re used to (the atmosphere). We just need to stay level-headed. It’s just another match for us, and hopefully we’ll go up there and do our thing.”