Wa-Hi goalkeeper Alyssa Rodriguez-James dives for a save against Richland on Tuesday.
Photo by Greg Lehman.
WALLA WALLA — The Richland girls soccer team scored five goals in the first half, as the Bomber sdowned Walla Walla High School, 8-0, here Tuesday.
Richland’s Samantha Hellman accounted for five of those scores, including three in the first half. Wa-Hi head coach Keven Peck said his team had a difficult time keeping up with the Bombers’ attacking style.
“Most of their goals are breakaway goals,” Peck said. “They have the ability to knock a ball 40 or 50 yards into space and run on to it and score. We struggle getting the ball from place to place. That’s just practice — our starting point is different than their starting point.”
The Blue Devils had difficulty with the Bombers’ offense throughout the game, Peck said. Richland finished with 24 shots on goal, compared to only three for Wa-Hi.
Peck said it was difficult to extend possessions because his team had trouble linking passes downfield.
“There were times when we possessed the ball really well,” Peck said. “What we need to do is find a way to make something out of that. We’ll get the ball, we’ll possess it, we’ll touch it, we’ll link two or three passes and then we’ll break down. If we can link that third and fourth and fifth pass and get players in space, we can make something out of it.”
Wa-Hi’s inability to keep plays alive led to a long day for the keepers, as Richland spent most of the match on offense. Peck still credited his keepers, Alyssa Rodriguez-James and Emily Gilmore, for their effort in the net.
“Both our goalkeepers were really, really brave,” Peck said. “Unfortunately they get the brunt of some of our play. We’ll make a pass (and) it will bounce kind of funny, or we’ll break down with our passing and they get a shot off. They’re under constant pressure.”
Richland opened the scoring in the 13th minute, as Hayley Deen outran the Wa-Hi defense and slid it past the left side of Rodriguez-James. Deen added another score in the 20th minute, as she took a cross and ripped a ball from outside the box into the right corner of the net.
Following Deen’s score, Hellman put the game out of reach with three of her five goals coming between the 21st and 28th minute. Peck said Richland features some of the premier players on this side of the mountains.
“The halftime talk was we need to be harder on the ball, we need to be stronger on the ball,” Peck said. “Athletically, we just need to work harder to compete with these girls. They have some pretty powerful athletes and some quick girls. We have difficulty staying with those girls.”
Peck said the Blue Devils must learn from this game to improve moving forward. Wa-Hi travels to play Southride Saturday.
“We have to just work harder and continue to fight and to continue to get better,” Peck said. “Our starting point is different than their starting point. These girls show up every day and they keep trying, and that’s the most important thing for these girls.”