Blue Devils can't rally past Richland girls

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WALLA WALLA - Wa-Hi had its chances, but could not come back after falling behind 2-0 against the Richland Bombers in the second half of Tuesday's Columbia Basin Big Nine girls soccer matchup.

Richland won the match, 2-1.

Neither team was able to score in the first half, but Richland broke the ice with a goal when Wa-Hi's defense broke down in the 55th minute.

Miscommunications between Wa-Hi's defense and goalkeeper Lexi Sanchez allowed Richland to score both goals, Blue Devils coach Jesse Cruz said.

"They (the keeper and defender) thought one of them had it," Cruz said. "They just kind of looked at it and one of the forwards came in and put it in."

Five minutes later, Cruz said a similar breakdown occurred, allowing the Bombers to build a 2-0 lead.

The Blue Devils were not done yet, though.

Sanchez sent a booming punt down the field, allowing Wa-Hi forward Bridget Lions to get behind Richland's defense and pop a goal over the keeper's head with five minutes left to play.

Wa-Hi kept putting pressure on the Bombers, with Sanchez sending several more punts to Lions for break-away opportunities, but the shots fell wide.

"It was a great effort on her (Lions') part," Cruz said. "We never gave up, we kept creating pressure. They (Richland) were worried, you could tell because they kept kicking the ball out of bounds.

"If we keep playing games like this, we can come out and get into districts," Cruz said.

Cruz said the loss was bittersweet.

"Defenders did great, everybody played great," Cruz said. "It was bittersweet, but sometimes that happens in soccer - sometimes you play great but still lose the game. It's kind of disappointing. I know the girls feel the same way, but they have to feel proud about the way they played."

Wa-Hi, now 2-5, travels to Wenatchee to take on the Panthers at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Apple Bowl.

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