WENATCHEE — It didn’t take long.
By the seventh minute, the Panthers had already put the Sunnyside Grizzlies away. By the 16th, it was a rout. Wenatchee scored six goals in the opening 15 minutes and dominated Sunnyside 9-nil Tuesday night at the Apple Bowl, earning its fifth clean sheet of the season.
“We need to do that more often,” Wenatchee head coach David Vasquez joked after the game. “Obviously on paper, it looked like a walk-through; it’s tough to keep the girls motivated when you look at past results, but during warmups, we just went back to the basics of why they play soccer. They were really focused tonight and that’s why we went out and had some fun.”
Senior Halle Stegeman nearly scored in the first minute of the game, carrying the ball from midfield into the 18 before firing a shot just over the crossbar. Stegeman got another opportunity a minute later and buried it to give Wenatchee a 1-0 lead.
A cascade of goals ensued from there.
Juniors Olivia Harle and Masyn Heggem scored the Panthers' second and third goal in the sixth and seventh minute. Stegeman then completed a hat trick with a pair of goals in the 11th and 13th minute. Three minutes later, sophomore Piper Davidson scored the Panthers’ sixth goal of the half. It felt as if the Panthers scored on every shot.
Ironically, that was all Wenatchee would get in the first half.
The Panthers kept their foot on the gas though in the second half and added three more goals. Heggem scored her second goal of the match in the 56th minute and Stegeman got her fourth in the 70th. Wenatchee added its final goal in the closing minutes from senior Taylor Schoengarth.
“I was super proud that she got a goal,” Vasquez said. “She’s been dealing with an injury but to be able to feel some confidence that goal really helps. It doesn’t matter what position we put her in; she gives us her best, and she was rewarded tonight with that goal.”
It was a good bounceback game for the Panthers following Saturday’s 1-nil loss to Moses Lake. The Panthers will now have a few days to prepare for Central Valley on Saturday, which should be a good measuring stick game for Vasquez.
Eastmont beat Central Valley 4-2 last month, during the first week of the season.
“I don’t know a whole lot about them but whatever film we watch from their game against Eastmont is not going to be indicative of what they have now,” Vasquez said. “We know that as the season progresses you start to tweak things and see what is gelling. I’m sure they will be a much more complete team, so we’re excited for the opportunity to gauge where we are in terms of state.”
Kickoff on Saturday is at 1 p.m at the Apple Bowl.