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Wildcats improving, still looking to win

The Westview girls soccer team battles Union tough before falling 2-0


ROCK CREEK — The Westview girls soccer team did a lot of good things in its Sept. 13 non-league home game against Union, Wash.

The Wildcats controlled possession. They strung together passes. They cracked off shots regularly.

But things didn’t quite add up — and that’s been the problem for Westview so far this year. The Wildcats dropped a 2-0 decision to the Titans, and for the fourth straight game, failed to score. The loss dropped Westview’s record to 0-4.

by: MILES VANCE - GIVING CHASE - Westview freshman Mallory Ashcraft (center) chases down the ball while Union goalkeeper Alex Sanders looks on during the Wildcats 2-0 home loss to the Titans

“We were definitely controlling the game. We were just having trouble getting our attacks together,” said Westview senior defender Paige LaFlamme. “We had good shots; we just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities as well as we could have.”

“It’s just the little mistakes we need to capitalize on, punishing teams for making mistakes and not making the mistakes we make as often,” said junior forward Mac Kearney.

Westview coach Chris Martin, while obviously less than thrilled with a fourth straight defeat, still saw a lot to like in his team’s effort.

“As long as we’re continuing to work on doing the things we need to get better, I’m OK with the outcome,” Martin said. “I want them to try things and take chances in a game because doing it in practices is a lot different than in a game.”

Union, from Vancouver, Wash., broke through to get the game-winner less than 2 minutes into the contest when the Wildcat defense failed to clear the ball near the left sideline above the top edge of the Westview penalty box. Union’s Melissa Foster collected the loose ball, beat the last Westview defender up the side of the field, then drove a left-footed shot past Wildcat keeper Rachel Lusby to the center of the goal with 38 minutes, 20 seconds left in the opening half.

“I know we’re capable of playing good soccer and consistent soccer,” Martin said. “But we have these little breakdowns where we get rattled, whereas perhaps a more seasoned team wouldn’t get as rattled as quick, and it tends to happen on the defensive side. If a scenario pops up that we haven’t particularly practiced on, we get out of sorts and nervous.”

The Titans kept the pressure on for most of the next 15 minutes too, banging out five shots — three of those on goal — but Lusby handled each one flawlessly and kept her team’s deficit at just 1-0.

But after that, the Wildcats settled themselves, began to control the ball and created a couple of great chances. The first of those came on a Kearney shot that missed wide right off a pass from Reed Richardson midway through the half, the second on a Jadyn McMillan chip shot with two minutes left in the half that very nearly pulled the Titan keeper backward into the goal.

Westview kept that momentum in the second half too, getting shots on goal by both Kearney and McMillan in the first 12 minutes, and then a Jamie Neimann header off a Laura Camp corner kick that missed just high.

Union pushed back strong in the final 18 minutes, though, getting dangerous shots on goal by both Delaney Lindahl and Bobbi Eckler that were stopped by Cat keeper Lizzy Coryell, Eckler’s a high shot to the middle of the goal that Coryell just tipped away with 11 minutes left in the game.

But the Titans cashed in their second goal just four minutes later when Foster raced up the left endline, then crossed the ball to Maddie Gerichs at the far post for the goal and 2-0 final margin with 7:08 remaining to play.

“Both goals came when we were pretty spread out and it was (one-on-one) defending that caused the problem,” Martin said.

Despite the loss, the Wildcats saw continued improvement in their play and continue to hold great hope for the 2012 Metro League season.

“We’re definitely improving each game. We’re getting stronger and stronger,” LaFlamme said. “We’re making sure we’re ready for our season so we’re trying new things and working our attack up and getting our shots in.”

“I feel like our team chemistry has gotten so much better from where we started. We’re a family. We’re all sisters. We’re all here for each other,” Kearney said. “Yeah, we get on each other when we make a mistake but it’s all constructive criticism. We all want to win and we all want to be here.”

In upcoming games, Westview opens Metro League play at Aloha at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday), then hosts Jesuit at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.