YAKIMA — Head coach David Vasquez knew Tuesday night’s game against West Valley was going to be difficult, but his Panthers delivered with a huge 3-0 win over the Rams.

“They’ve got a good squad and play with all kinds of intensity,” Vasquez said. “It was a really good one for us; they are consistently up there in the top of the Big 9.”

The Panthers scored their first goal in the 24th minute after Piper Davidson was taken down in the box and senior Halle Stegeman converted the PK.

Stegeman scored her second goal four minutes into the second half off a direct kick from about 30 yards out.

“She put it on frame and the West Valley keeper tried to make a save but the shot was coming in too hot and ended up in the back of the net.”

Junior Olivia Harle scored the Panthers’ final goal in the 57th minute, tapping in a rebound that poked out of the keeper's possession.

Overall, a solid performance for the Panthers as they get ready for Saturday’s big matchup with Eastmont.

“They were a physical team that likes to play the long ball a lot and we knew that coming in so we made sure we maintained our defensive shape and didn’t allow them to create much,” Vasquez said. “Our two center backs, Grace Kunz and Natalie Boles, played lights out along with keeper Ana Jarecki. Talia Hurst dominated in the midfield and Masyn Heggem and Lilian Deimus did a nice job of finding open space, driving to the endline and cutting passes back to the middle.”

On Saturday's game against archrival Eastmont, Vasquez channeled his inner Yogi Berra.

“It’s a big game, or it’s not a big game,” he said. “It depends on how we want to perceive it. We really try to emphasize that it doesn’t matter who is lining up against us or what colors they wear; we know what we need to do.”

Kickoff on Saturday at Eastmont Stadium is at 3 p.m.

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Sports Reporter

Zach Johnson is a 28-year-old sportswriter from Lakewood, Colorado. When he's not covering local sporting events you can find him carding birdies at many of the state's public golf courses, biking the Apple Capital Loop Trail, or skiing Mission Ridge.