by KEN MORGAN
of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Community College and Clark battled to a 1-1 tie Saturday in NWAACC East Region men's soccer action.
"It was a good college soccer game," WWCC coach Chad Bodnar said. "They (Clark) are one of the four or five best teams in the NWAACC, but anytime you're at home you want to get the full three points (for a win)."
The tie, coupled with a 3-1 win over Pierce Friday, runs the Warriors to 7-1-1 overall and 4-0-1 in the NWAACC East.
"We just got through the South Region to end the first half of the season, and we're unbeaten, Bodnar said. "That's not a bad thing."
The Warriors' Jonathan Rodriguez blasted a shot from the right side in the 13th minute that found the cross bar and bounced away. Mikey Luhrs took a high bounce off the rebound and tried to get it in the goal with a heels over head acrobatic shot, but Penguin goal keeper Tyler Luebbert turned away the Warrior threat.
The Warriors next best opportunity came in the 32nd minute. Luebbert came off his line and Kyle Menchaca got his shot past Luebbert, but Anthony Gronwolth dropped from his defense spot and kicked away Menchaca's shot. Rodriguez fired the rebound over the top of the net and it remained 0-0.
With 5:44 left in the half the Warriors struck. Menchaca got a cross to the feet of Luis Alcala in the center of the penalty box, and Alcala beat a diving Luebbert into the lower right corner for a 1-0 Warrior lead.
WWCC took a 1-0 lead to intermission. The Warriors out shot the Penguins 6-4 and both goal keepers - Luebbert for the Penguins and Emmanuel Martinez for the Warriors - posted two saves.
"We played as well as we've played all year in the first half," Bodnar said. "We had five or six good chances to score - hitting cross bars and doing those kinds of things - but we have to close games out."
The Warriors suffered through a minute of panic to open the second half. 13 seconds into the half, Clark's Lamar Anderson found himself all alone and blasted a shot-on-goal from 35 yards out. The shot hit the underside of the cross bar, went straight down and caromed into the back of the net.
Isaiah Escobedo got an open look 47 seconds later, but fired over the top of the Warrior goal. The Warriors survived the onslaught with the match tied at 1-1.
"We weren't ready to play when the whistle blew (to start the second half)," Bodnar said. "We gave the ball away and it's in the back of our net, then we had to dig. It's a learning lesson.
"We got the tie today because of one mistake, Bodnar said. "We're learning and we'll be better at the end of the year than we are now."
Clark's David Casaras-Sanches drew his second yellow card and drew a red card disqualification with 16:20 left and the Penguins played a man down the rest of the way.
The Warriors mounted some pressure, but couldn't put one in the back of the net. A break from Rodriguez to Menchaca resulted in a corner kick with 8:50 left, but no goal.
Rodriguez had a break away with 3:10 left but was called for off sides.
In Friday's action, Menchaca scored on an assist from Ariel Chavez in the 70th minute to break a 1-1 tie and propel the Warriors to the 3-1 win.
Eric Vaught from Kentaro Bodzewski had produced a 1-0 Warrior lead at intermission. Pierce answered in the 63rd minute on a goal from Cory McClellan to tie it at 1-1 and set up Menchaca's game winner.
Alcala scored in the 81st minute to ice the 3-1 win for the Warriors.
"We went up early and kind of sat in a little bit," Bodnar said of Friday's action. "They had a counter and we had a mis-communication in the back and a guy broke through and scored on us.
"I was proud of the boys for their effort level in coming back and going in and scoring the goals to get the game closed out," Bodnar said.
The Warriors travel to East Region foe Columbia Basin College on Oct. 5.