WALLA WALLA -- Eastmont's Whitney Monroy lofted a 35-yard direct kick just off the finger tips of Wa-Hi goalie Vanessa Wyckoff in the 88th minute to thwart a furious Blue Devil comeback and give the Wildcats a 4-2 Cascade Division girls soccer victory here Saturday at the Wa-Hi pitch.
"All of a sudden it was 3-0 (three minutes into the second half)," Blue Devil coach Alyssa Latham said. "We didn't give up. We put a third forward up front, and we got going.
"All of a sudden, it's 1-3, and then 2-3," Latham said of the comeback. "Then they got the free kick, and I thought she (Wyckoff) had it. She got a finger on it and tried to hit it over, but no."
The Blue Devils got off the first good shot of the match when Angelica Escalante's blast was caught at the waist by Wildcat goalie Mae Larimer in the third minute.
It was a Wa-Hi defense that refused to give into Wildcat pressure and a couple of great saves from Wyckoff that kept Eastmont off the board.
Amairani Juarez ran off several Eastmont threats from her defender position, and then there was Wyckoff.
In the 25th minute, Wyckoff made a diving deflection on a drive off the foot of Taylor Reynolds, and in the 31st minute, Wyckoff made a leaping catch on a shot from Olivia Rodger.
"It was a really great first half," Latham said. "Our keeper (Wyckoff) played really well. She had a lot of 1-on-1s and made a lot of tough saves."
In the 35th minute, the Blue Devils suffered their only defensive break down of the first 40 minutes. Reynolds got behind the Blue Devil defense, and when Wyckoff came out to challenge, Reynolds got the ball into the open net for a 1-0 Eastmont lead. The Wildcats took the 1-0 lead to intermission.
"We were awesome the first 10 minutes. We were possessing and beating them to the ball," Latham said. "The sun and fatigue came into it a little bit, and we stopped coming to the ball and you could see the change there."
The decisive three minutes unfolded to open the second half. Thirty seconds in, Reynolds scored on an assist from Hallie Marohl.
Two minutes later, Reynolds took a centering pass from Rodger and lifted it into the upper right corner for what looked to be an insurmountable 3-0 Wildcat lead.
"We were asleep at the beginning of the second half," Latham said. "We watched 18 (Reynolds) score."
The Blue Devils started the comeback in the 65th minute. Wa-Hi got the ball forward to Escalante for a breakaway. Escalante beat Larimer with a left foot into the lower left corner to cut the Wildcat lead to 3-1.
The Blue Devil defense held and Wa-Hi's Allison Greene sent a pass into Eastmont's 18-yard box in the 75th minute.
Escalante won a battle with Eastmont's Alyssa Medina, and fired a shot home into the lower right corner, and it was 3-2 Eastmont.
That was as close as Wa-Hi would get as Monroy's free kick sealed the deal.
Wa-Hi drops to 0-2 in division.
"We played really hard," Latham said. "We lost, but I'm very happy with the performance."
Wa-Hi travels to Wenatchee Saturday.