EAST WENATCHEE — The Eastmont Wildcats looked impressive in their home-opener Tuesday night against Cashmere.
Forwards Paige Fischer and Kendall Flanagan displayed some excellent chemistry, connecting on two set-piece goals, the defense rallied after giving up a goal 30 seconds into the second half, and sophomore keeper Eli Tiechner made quality saves late in the game to preserve a 4-1 victory.
“It was a good start for both squads I thought,” Eastmont head coach Vidal Hurtado said. “The game was pretty level and could have gone either way through the first 20 minutes.”
After a back-and-forth start, the Wildcats (2-0) seized momentum after scoring in the 22nd minute off a corner kick from Flanagan, who served the ball into traffic and found Fischer cutting toward the net. The ball somehow slipped past two Bulldogs — and a jumping Kylee Maytrychit — and landed at Fischer’s feet.
Eastmont controlled possession for the rest of the half.
With just a few minutes remaining, Flanagan linked up with Fischer for a second time, dishing a pass to the sophomore, who had made a run between two Bulldogs at midfield and finished with a beautiful goal under the crossbar.
The Wildcats went into half with a two-goal cushion. That comfort evaporated pretty quickly though when play restarted; Cashmere’s Natalie Dart scored 30 seconds into the second half. The Wildcats lost focus for a second and made a mistake marking inside the box.
But Hurtado said it was the best thing that could have happened.
“You could tell that it hit hard for the girls that had made a mistake, but they (refocused) and got back after it.”
Eastmont responded almost immediately, earning another corner kick and scoring on another set-piece. Flanagan ripped an out-swinging cross toward the far post and Fischer timed it perfectly with her right foot to give Eastmont a 3-1 lead.
Flanagan, boasting three assists, got her goal (albeit indirectly) in the 58th minute, scoring off a corner kick that deflected off the Bulldogs keeper and into the net. The Bulldogs pushed for a second goal over the final 20 minutes and had a few good chances, but Tiechner was a wall in goal.
“It was a good night,” Hurtado said. “Paige had three goals, Kendall had three assists and a goal, our wingers did a great job, and our defense looked strong after letting one in. You learn from those situations.”
Both Cashmere (1-1) and Eastmont have a quick turnaround and play Thursday night. Cashmere hosts Moses Lake at 6:30 p.m., and Eastmont travels to Leavenworth to take on the Cascade Kodiaks at 4:30 p.m.
“Everyone is healthy and getting more fit as we play more games," Hurtado said. "It will allow me to figure out where our strengths are and where we might need to focus and improve on before Saturday against Central Valley.”