CASHMERE — It was going to be interesting to see how the Bulldogs would respond following Tuesday’s emotional 3-2 victory over rival Cascade against Omak Thursday night at home. Would they come out flat, or at all overanxious against a less-resistant squad?
That question was answered within the first couple of minutes, and multiple times over throughout the full-80 as Cashmere blew out Omak 8-nil in drizzling conditions at Cashmere Soccer Field.
“This match is one that always scares me,” Bulldogs head coach Dennis Tronson said after the win. “Omak is well-coached and after an emotional win on Tuesday, would we be able to put our foot down or get caught into bad habits? There were moments in the first half where I thought we were disconnected and trying to be super athletes, but that doesn’t result in goals or opportunities. We talked about keeping the ball on the floor and I was happy with our combination play in the second half.”
The Bulldogs peppered Pioneers’ keeper Kacie Verjaska from the opening rush. Kaitlyn Bjorklund, Clare Norman and Chloe Diaz each fired shots on frame before Justin Wood got one through in the ninth minute. Bjorklund added a second goal just eight minutes later, starting the barrage.
Cashmere tacked on two more goals in the half, with Grace Hammond scoring two within eight minutes of each other. The Bulldogs maintained control essentially the entire half, freshman keeper Ava Courtney didn’t even touch the ball.
She did, however, get tested once or twice in the second half off as the Pioneers were able to generate a couple of chances. But the Bulldogs, as a whole, played with more fluidity and were just the better team.
“We did a much better job and because of that we generated more looks,” Tronson said. “After our seventh goal, which we scored after making two or three passes through the middle, I turned and asked the girls on the bench, ‘wasn’t that hard?’”
Cashmere just dominated the final 40-minutes. Sisters Carley and Chloe Diaz both scored within five minutes of each other, bookended by goals from Natalie Dart and freshman Grace Norman, who recorded her first varsity goal after being played into the offensive zone by her older sister and senior Clare Norman.
“That was a special moment,” Tronson said of the play, which was the final goal of the night.
The Bulldogs will now get the weekend to recover as they get ready for Wenatchee at home on Tuesday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“It will be a good friendly for us, we’ll try some new things and try to break a very disciplined back four,” Tronson said. “That will be our focus. We can attack with anyone we’re still trying to get the back-line comfortable but they are doing better and since moving Grace Hammond to center back we haven’t lost.”