Once again, Western Nevada Community College was a first half soccer team. This time, it was good enough to win, as the Wildcats scored three first-half goals then held on for a 3-2 victory at home against College of Southern Idaho on Saturday morning at Edmonds Sports Complex.
Goals by Sabrina Cantrell, Savannah Gray and Melyssa Dacchio staked the Wildcats to a 3-0 halftime lead en route to a win that improved their season record to 5-4-2. It was a nice comeback after watching a 1-0 halftime lead turn into a 2-1 defeat at home against Salt Lake Community College on Thursday.
"Sometimes you get a 3-0 lead and it's easy to get comfortable. You get tentative and you start playing afraid and that's what happened to us in the second half," WNCC coach Hillary Arthur said. "When we first started the season, we were a second half team. Now, we're a second half team. Hopefully, we can pull it all together and be a 90-minute team."
For WNCC, the win was its first in five home games this season. This also marked the final home appearance for the Wildcats, who play Shasta in Redding, Calif., on Tuesday and then play in the Scenic West Athletic Conference Tournament on Oct. 28-29 in Salt Lake City.
"This was a big win since it was our last home game," Wildcats sweeper Dominique Gloude said. "The first half was awesome. Everyone was just ready to play. Everyone played to feet and talked a lot."
The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute when Gray put a cross from the right side in front of the net to Cantrell, who took the ball out of mid-air and redirected it in for her first goal of the season.
They nearly had a second goal five minutes later when Melissa Goldfin crossed the ball to Demi Vega on the right wing for a shot that just glanced off the goalpost.
In the 34th minute, Jessica Maule brought the ball upfield on a long run and dished off a through ball that Gray run down and pushed past the goalkeeper to make it 2-0. The goal was Gray's eighth of the season.
Gray added her second assist on a cross from the right side to a wide open Docchio, who blasted a high ball to the back of the net for a 3-0 lead in the 45th minute.
However, the momentum shifted in the second half.
Southern Idaho got into the score column in the 59th minute on a goal by Daisy Heiner, assisted by Bea Wunderlich. Then Maja Sivic struck a high 30-yarder that found the back of the net in the 66th minute and all of a sudden it was a one-goal contest.
The Wildcats ame up with some big plays defensively down the stretch, including a save by goalkeeper Lisa Berryman diving to her left on a Grace Miramontes shotwith 12 minutes to go. Then with six minutes left, Hannah Lee stopped a run down the left side with a slide tackle, denying Southern Idaho a breakaway and giving possession of the ball to the Wildcats.
"Hannah is great; she's so tough out there," Arthur said of the North Valleys High graduate. "She's so smart. She knows when to go to the ball, when to pressure the ball and she knows when to just contain."
WNCC wound up with a 10-6 advantage on the shot chart, although Southern Idaho enjoyed a 4-1 advantage in the second half.
"They're a club team, but they're very well put together," Arthur said. "They do a good job. If you don't come out ready to play, you're going to be in trouble."
Notes: Though 0-7 this season, give Southern Idaho credit for being a team that is self-sustaining. "These are all kids who take classes at the college and want to play soccer," coach Vince Gibson said. "Everything is volunteer, and they pay for everything themselves - the travel and lodging, uniforms, all that." ... Kristel Thompson celebrated her 18th birthday by playing her first game of the season for WNCC. Pretty good considering the Dayton High graduate was just cleared to play after having ACL surgery over the winter.
n Contact Dave Price at email@example.com or 881-1220.