LEAVENWORTH — The Cashmere Bulldog girls soccer team improved to 2-0 in the Caribou Trail League with a 3-2 win over Cascade on Tuesday. The league championship usually comes down to the two teams.
Cashmere Head Coach Dennis Tronson knew it would be another tough game.
“You know you are going to play a full 80 minutes and it will come down to the last shot. I thought they had some really good looks when they needed to come out and press,” Tronson said. “I thought we handled it fairly well.”
Cashmere opened the scoring with a goal just three minutes into the game. Sophomore Natalie Dart hit a shot into the low corner, which bounced off the hands of Cascade keeper Devan Archer.
The Bulldogs went up 1-0 early in the game. Getting that early goal was huge, Tronson said.
“We talked about when on the road, it’s so important to jump on somebody. We were trying a few different things defensively just to change the rhythm. They like to get in a really nice give and go rhythm. We wanted to disrupt that,” Tronson said. “Our sense was to play quick and find feet and switch the point.”
Twelve minutes into the game, Cashmere’s Carly Diaz scored on a counter-attack to put the Bulldogs up 2-0, which remained as the halftime score.
Cascade came out in the second half looking like a different team as they started pressing the attack. Cascade Head Coach Glen Stefanko said there were no changes, it was just more of a mental game.
“They just didn’t show up in the first half. We have no excuses, but it plays a part that we’ve had the crud going around. We had a couple of girls in tears that couldn’t get a full breath, but played the whole game,” Stefanko said. “That makes it hard to be there mentally on a big game night. That was a bit of it. I think more than anything, they just shook off the nerves and started playing.”
Cascade nearly had a goal when the Cashmere keeper was drawn from the box. A Kodiak fired a hard shot at goal, but junior Angelica Walkley was there to deflect the shot. At 47 minutes, Cascade senior Alexa Rogers scored on a scramble after a corner kick. She was able to find the net for the score.
The Kodiaks cut the lead to 2-1. However, just one minute later, Cashmere scored on a counter-attack as Dart netted her second goal on a 15-foot shot. That preserved the two-goal lead at 3-1.
“That was the real key. It was a great read by Ella Burts to slot that ball. We talked about looking for an earlier pass. Not taking that extra touch. When she did that, it opened it up. They were expecting us to take another touch,” Tronson said. “They were maybe a step off and that was the difference.”
Three minutes later, Cascade scored again off a corner kick. Senior Tori Driscoll found the net off a header to cut the lead to 3-2.
“Our bugaboo this season has been corner kicks. They bit us twice. That’s something we’ll address on the training field. That is the seventh one we’ve given up this year,” Tronson said. “At the end, I was hoping we would not give up a corner kick. It’s more mental now on what we need to do. That’s something we are going to really focus on.”
Cascade had several chances to tie the game but could not capitalize. At 75 minutes, the Kodiaks had a free-kick from 25-yards out. However, the Bulldogs snuffed out the attempt.
In extra time, there was a hand ball just outside the box.
Another golden opportunity, but the normally reliable Driscoll sailed the ball. Not long after the whistle blew to end the game.
“I tip my hat to them. They made adjustments and created some havoc for us. Devan came up big and so did Ava Courtney. Overall, I thought the first half was about and complete as we can play, moving the ball finding feet,” Tronson said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do all season. We’ve seen glimmers of it. I thought we got in a nice rhythm which resulted in two nice goals.”
Stefanko said not scoring the set pieces late in the second half was big.
“We have the talent to capitalize on those, so when we’re not, I know something is going on. It could be a whole slew of factors. Coming in, I don’t think they were overconfident, but that could play a part in it,” Stefanko said. “Also, thinking their colds will not bring them down or bother them. We’ve had 3/4ths of our girls sick in the last week and a half. They will pull through. They can play a much better game than they did. It will be exciting to see.”
Cashmere improved to 2-0 in the CTL and 4-3-1 overall. Cascade fell to 0-1 in the CTL and 2-5 overall.
Both coaches know they will be seeing each other probably two more times, once in the regular season and once in the CTL championship game.
“Overall, I didn’t expect anything different, whether we score first or they score first. It was going to go 80 minutes. As coaches, we know we’re going to play each other three times. I’m hoping it is four times,” Tronson said.
“It’s a good eye-opener that Cashmere is here ready to play. Word goes around they don’t have many players and don’t have a big team, but it never matters. Those girls have a lot of heart. They always come out to play,” Stefanko said. “Never ceases to be fun. We have a couple of games to put some things together and get everybody healthy.”
Cascade plays at Cashmere the last game of the regular season on Oct. 29.