Wa-Hi prevails over Wenatchee in 4-2 shootout win

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WENATCHEE - Wenatchee roared back from a 3-1 halftime deficit to tie Wa-Hi 3-3 at the end of regulation here Saturday in Columbia Basin Big Nine 4A girls soccer action.

The Panthers and Blue Devils played through two scoreless five minute overtime periods and the match went to penalty kicks.

The Blue Devils prevailed 4-2 in penalty kicks to take a 4-3 shootout win.

"We've been winning lately and then let the other team come back on us," Blue Devil coach Jesse Cruz said. "We're up (today) 3-1 at halftime, and they (Wenatchee) score two to tie.

"We have to find out what we need to do (to keep leads)," Cruz continued. "It's frustrating and we don't know what it is - we get too relaxed or lose focus - but we've got to find out what causes the little problems and eliminate those."

The Panthers got on the board first and took a 1-0 lead before Angelica Escalante found the back of the Panther net and tied it at 1-1.

Paige Pontarolo took a pass from Brigitt Lyons and buried it to give the Blue Devils their first lead of the match at 2-1.

The Panthers were whistled for a foul just outside the 18 box. Pontarolo's free kick beat the Panther goalie and Wa-Hi went to intermission up 3-1.

"Wenatchee came back (in the second half)," Cruz said. "We lost concentration in the back and had a foul that cost us."

The Panthers beat the Wa-Hi defense to draw within 3-2 and then drew a foul. The Panther free kick hit the cross bar, but a Panther was there to clean up the rebound and draw Wenatchee even at 3-3.

After the scoreless overtimes, Vivi Ivarra knocked home the first PK for the Blue Devils, and the Panthers missed their first opportunity.

Pontarolo drilled the second Wa-Hi shot, but Wenatchee countered. Lyons made it three-for-three for Wa-Hi, and Wenatchee connected, but Wa-Hi was up 3-2 in PKs.

Maggie Callan put home the game clincher as the Panthers missed their next shot.

The win moves Wa-Hi to 3-6 on the conference season and the Blue Devils host Davis Tuesday to begin the last three-match stretch of the regular season.

"We have our playoff destiny in our own hands," Cruz said of the three upcoming matches. "We are playing our hearts out. We have to understand a little better and fix the little mistakes. We have to show up and play."

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