Wa-Hi’s Lucas Larraeu (second from right) celebrates after scoring the second goal in Wa-Hi’s win over Richland on Tuesday.
Photo by Greg Lehman.
WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla High School boys soccer team blasted two second-half corner kicks into the middle and punched them in for goals to take the 2-1 win over Richland here Tuesday in the opening round of district play at the Whitman Athletic Fields.
The victory propels the Blue Devils into round two, a loser-out match at Chiawana Thursday at 7 p.m. The winner of that game advances to play at Pasco Saturday.
Wa-Hi outshot the Bombers 8-2 in the first half, with five on-goal, but couldn’t score.
Richland claimed the 1-0 lead in the seventh minute on a goal from Xavier Acuna, on the assist from Ali Kamara.
Blue Devils coach Mike Washington had a talk with his team at halftime.
“We talked about trying to get in behind them rather than over the top,” Washington said of his emphasis on patience. “In the first half, we tried going over the top and they sat back with numbers and tried to counter. When they sat back, every time we over hit the ball, it came back the other way against us.
“We also had to do a better job of keeping the ball,” he said. “It’s tough; they packed it in and sat. It was a hard game to break. We talked about using their tactic, sit back and counter if we got a lead.”
Wa-Hi never got the chance to enjoy much time with the lead.
The Blue Devils tied the game on a corner kick from Francisco Sanchez that deflected off a Richland defender and knocked off Wa-Hi’s Esteban Ojeda into the goal, and it was 1-1 with 31 minutes left in regulation.
After the equalizer, the Blue Devils received three yellow cards for rough play — two on Aaron Enriquez, and he was ejected with the automatically ensuing red card. Enriquez will now be unavailable for the next round of the playoffs.
With five minutes remaining in the game and two minutes after the ejection, Wa-Hi’s Christian Sergovia smacked a corner kick into the middle for Lucas Larreau to boot into the net for the winning goal.
In the game, Wa-Hi received four yellow cards and Bombers had two.
The Blue Devils led in the corner kick advantage, 4-3 and scored on two of the aforementioned kicks.
Wa-Hi outshot Richland, 15-8, in the game. The Blue Devils put eight shots on-goal, while the Bombers kicked four on-goal.
With the win, Wa-Hi takes on Chiawana for a third time this season. At home, the Blue Devils were victorious, 3-1, and they lost 2-1 in overtime on the road in the last regular-season match of the season.
“Chiawana is definitely beatable, we just have to play smart,” Washington said.