WALLA WALLA — At the end of Wednesday’s NWAACC East Division women’s soccer match between Walla Walla Community College and defending NWAACC champion Columbia Basin, one could have stated that the contest lived up to its billing.
Of course it did. After all, the two featured teams played for the NWAACC title last fall, and entered Wednesday’s skirmish ranked first and second, respectively, in the latest NWAACC poll.
Both teams were also tied for the league lead with perfect 5-0 records.
Just one goal was tallied in the 90-minute match, and that marker — put on the board in the 25th minute by Walla Walla forward Katie Lucas — was all the Warriors needed in their 1-0 triumph.
WWCC improved its overall record to 9-1 and handed the previously undefeated and untied Hawks their first loss in eight matches.
The goal capped a run down the right side of the pitch by Lucas and was fired from 15 yards out. Her try deflected off a CBC defender and into the net at 24:10.
The biggest reason for the Warriors’ Wednesday success was the effort of its back four, according to coach Chad Bodnar, especially the duo of Dashia Huff and Lena Miraglio. Huff and Miraglio shut down CBC forward Julissa Rodriguez, who was third in the NWAACC in scoring a year ago, registered a hat trick in last year’s championship match, and is an athlete that Bodnar recruited.
"Dashia and Lena slammed the door on her (Rodriguez)," Bodnar said. "We changed our (defensive) shape a little bit and she didn’t see the ball much."
Despite being happy with the victory, and a 23-6 disparity in shots, Bodnar said his team has room to improve.
"We didn’t play very well in the second half," Bodnar said. "We let down and lacked a little bit in the midfield. Defensively, we were pretty sound, but we have to get a lot better going forward.
"We’re a lot better than we played (Wednesday)."
The Warriors travel to Tacoma on Saturday.