CASHMERE — It was the final game of the regular season on Tuesday. Cashmere was 7-0 in Caribou Trail League play while Cascade was 6-1, their only loss to the Bulldogs. The CTL title was on the line.
It was a bitterly cold night in Cashmere with temperatures at around 25 at game time. The game ended up being a tale of two halves. In the first half, Cascade was able to keep possession most of the time.
Neither team could generate much in the way of scoring chances. Finally, at 26 minutes, Cascade junior forward Molly Wiser lofted a perfect shot from about 30 feet, which was just over the reach of the keeper.
Cascade took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The second half started with a flurry of scoring on both sides. Cashmere had a corner kick at 47 minutes, which was lofted perfectly into the box, hitting the turf and finally booted in by senior Chloe Diaz. That tied the game at 1-1.
Just about a minute later, Kodiak senior Tori Driscoll launched a cross that was mishandled by the keeper, allowing a score. The Kodiaks took a 2-1 lead. At 53 minutes, the Bulldogs tied the game at 2-2 on a goal by senior Clare Norman.
At 55 minutes, Cashmere took the lead for good with a breakaway goal by sophomore Natalie Dart. As Dart raced toward the goal, the keeper came out, allowing Dart the kick into the open net. Cashmere led 3-2.
At 59 minutes, Cashmere launched another perfect ball into the box off a corner kick, which Diaz nailed for the score, putting the Bulldogs up 4-2.
Cashmere took a 5-3 lead at 73 minutes. Cascade was called for a hand ball in the box. Diaz scored on the penalty kick to complete the hat trick. Just a minute later, Norman scored again on crossing shot to make a 6-2 game.
The final tally came in extra time as Kodiak senior Kascia Muscutt scored on the cross by Driscoll, making the final 6-3.
Cashmere Head Coach Dennis Tronson said they came up with a plan for the second half at halftime. He said they give the first few minutes to the players.
“There was a lot of finger-pointing and calling each other out. Each coach contributed what they were seeing, which was critical,” Tronson said. “We had to give them one pass. We were playing more zone and less man. We had to tighten our marks and force them to get through us a little bit more. That created two or three more possessions and that led to the corner kicks and more of an attack.”
For Cascade Head Coach Glen Stefanko, going away from their game plan in the second half was their undoing.
“They knew what the game plan was in the first half. They stuck to it. It worked. We fell apart in the second half and didn’t stay connected,” Stefanko said. “We started to put together some poor passes which isn’t helpful because their counter-attack is always strong. We have to do better about keeping possession.”
Cashmere had seven shots on goal while Cascade had 10. Cashmere as able to score twice on corner kicks in the game.
Tronson said they have been working with Norman in training to take kicks from the left side.
“We put her on that side because she tends to whip the ball more powerfully into the box. We felt the way they defend, we might be able to get a ball pinging into the box and it happened,” Tronson said. “Tonight was the first time putting it in play. We thought if the situation arises, we’re going to give it a go. When Chloe was kicking, we run a little different because of the type of ball she serves into the box.”
Stefanko lamented the lack of defense on those corner kicks.
“That was just getting to the ball first. Letting that ball drop in the middle of the goal box is obviously not an option. The fact we did that more than once is a little frustrating. We’ll fix it,” Stefanko said.
Cashmere won the regular-season league title with a 8-0 record. Cascade was second at 6-2. The two teams will actually play again Saturday in the Apple Bowl for the CTL District title.
“It’s just frustrating to come off this field with that half we played, knowing we can do so much better than that. It’s just going to turn into fuel for the fire. We have to do better. That half is not reflective of how we can play,” Stefanko said.