WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla Community College’s Mikey Ramos on Wednesday proved once again that he has a nose for the opponents’ net.
The freshman midfielder drilled a penalty kick, his third such goal of the season, in the 76th minute and it proved to be the difference as the defending NWAACC champion Warriors nipped Columbia Basin, 1-0, in an East Division match on Warrior Field.
Wednesday’s narrow escape improved WWCC, No. 3 in the latest NWAACC poll, to 4-1 in league and 7-1 overall.
CBC, which stood eighth in the most recent rankings, is now 2-1-3 and 4-2-4.
Despite being outshot 7-1 in the opening half, the Hawks possessed the best scoring chance of the first 45 minutes. A third of the way through the period, CBC midfielder Sabdi Palma accepted a cross from the left side of the pitch and had a point-blank shot behind the Warrior defense.
But Palma’s attempt missed the mark.
"That was the only clear chance they had," Walla Walla coach Chad Bodnar said.
Palma’s kick was the lone shot on the day for CBC.
Prior to his game-winning PK, Ramos unleashed a blistering free kick from 30 yards out near the midway point of half two that was heading for the top shelf of the CBC net.
The blast would have tickled the twine had it not been for a miraculous save by Hawks’ keeper Abel Bautista — who leaped high in the air and deflected the shot over the cross bar.
With 15 minutes showing on the second-half clock, Ramos set the stage for his penalty kick by making a run down the right side of the turf and breaking in on net. He was hauled down by a CBC defender in the goal box at 75:17.
Ramos tallied with a hard, right-footed shot angled toward the top left corner of the net. Bautista, jumping to his right, got a glove on the sphere, but could not break its progression past the goal line.
On the day, WWCC outshot the Hawks 15-1.
"This is what you’d expect in a rivalry game," Bodnar said. "We didn’t play badly. We could have finished some early chances and made the game more comfortable."
Bodnar expressed satisfaction with his team’s defensive play.
"Brady (Espinoza) and Steph (Fujimoto) played well in the back," Bodnar said. "Chris Hawkins (a center back) was sick and didn’t train this week, but played for 80 minutes."
One match setback for the Warriors occurred in the second half when forward Marco Acevedo suffered an elbow injury. His status for WWCC’s next match, a road test at Tacoma on Saturday, is unknown pending X-ray results, Bodnar said.