WALLA WALLA — Richland’s Kirsten Calmus scored a hat trick and the Bombers defeated Wa-Hi, 6-1, in a Mid-Columbia Conference girls soccer match on a blustery Tuesday afternoon at Wa-Hi’s soccer field.
The Bombers dominated possession of the ball, allowing just one Blue Devil shot on goal in the first half and two more in the second half.
On the Wa-Hi side of the pitch, the Blue Devils faced 25 shots, 18 of which were on goal.
“What happened is that sometimes we are giving teams too much respect,” Wa-Hi coach Jesse Cruz said. “On those 50-50 balls, we just don’t go as aggressive and (be) more thoughtful about how we are going to do things.”
Wa-Hi struggled to find open passing lanes, and when it did get the ball on Richland’s turf, the Blue Devils weren’t able to hold onto the ball long enough to set up scoring plays.
“These girls, they play hard, there’s no doubt about it,” Cruz said. “They play hard. We just don’t think about how we go about doing things.
“Yesterday, we talked about how are we going to attack the spaces, how are we going to be more thoughtful about how we do things — supporting, tackling, and go head it, and things like that — and they pretty much did the opposite,” Cruz said. “It’s just kind of painful seeing that we have the talent, and it just seems like to me we are going from bad luck to playing bad, and then just not really consistent on how we need to be playing.”
Richland opened scoring with a goal in the 26th minute.
Calmus, a senior forward, launched a corner kick toward the goal that Wa-Hi keeper Alyssa James got her hands on, but couldn’t keep from deflecting into the side of the net.
Wa-Hi didn’t get possession of the ball on Richland’s side until almost the 25th minute of the match, and didn’t land a shot on goal until Wa-Hi’s Brittany Gibbar took a shot from 15 yards out with just over a minute left in the half that Richland keeper Sam Beck collected.
Richland led just 1-0 at halftime, but once the teams switched sides Wa-Hi got more shots on goal — and gave up more shots.
Hailey Dean took one of those shots for a goal in the 43rd minute.
Richland’s Courtney VanWinkle launched a pass between the Blue Devil defenders that Dean ran down and lofted just over James, who had come out of the net attempting to take away the shot.
Morgan Schumacher scored Richland’s third goal on an assist from Jaclyn Parnell in the 54th minute to add to the Bomber lead.
Gibbar answered for the Blue Devils five minutes later with a goal on a Dominique Cox assist. Cox made a move to take a shot from just inside the penalty box, drawing Richland keeper Sam Beck out of position, but instead crossed to Gibbar, who tapped in the easy goal from just left of the net.
“The goal that we scored, you clearly saw that the ball came in and that’s what we were trying to get in, to get the ball behind their defense,” Cruz said, “Which we did, and that’s what created the goal. Those are the things that we need to create, and suddenly we don’t think about what is working for us.”
The goal energized Wa-Hi for a time, but two more goals in the 62nd and 77th minutes, sandwiched around a Richland goal from Samantha Heilman, ended any hope of a Blue Devil comeback.
“Richland is a very good team, but they are beatable,” Cruz said. “We have to believe that. We are not a bad team. I give the credit to them (Richland), (but) we just have not been able to play as a team.”
The Blue Devils (2-11) host Kennewick Saturday in their final match of the regular season.