The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the NWAC East region squared off here Wednesday in women’s soccer action.
Walla Walla Community College, the East undefeated and untied leader, scored first 40 minutes into the game and held a 1-0 halftime advantage.
Yakima Valley got it even in the 59th minute and neither team figured out the other’s defense the rest of the way as they battled to a 1-1 tie.
“Yakima is a high energy and high enthusiasm team,” WWCC coach Jordan Hacker said. “When you don’t take advantage on the four or five opportunities you have and let them hang around, you get a 1-1 draw.”
The Warriors launched the ball deep into the Yak zone following the opening kickoff.
Lindsey Ellingsen fired the first Warrior shot of the match just 45 seconds in, but it went wide.
Fani Cossio fired on target, in the third minute, but an offside call negated the effort.
It wasn’t until the fourth minute that the Yaks got off their first shot, but Corynn Vigil’s attempt was off target.
The Warriors earned their first corner in the 16th minute when a Caitlin Crist to Ellingsen cross was knocked out by the Yaks.
Brielle Schneider’s corner found Crist but her header was blocked away.
In the 23rd, Sariah Valencia’s cross resulted in a collision between the Warriors and Brynlee Ward, the Yaks goalie and a Yakima goal kick.
The Yaks got the first solid scoring opportunity in the 25th minute.
Maddie Hoffman’s cross found the head of Ciel McDonald, but Warrior goalie, Josey Gunter was right there to haul in the header.
In the 41st minute, Schneider’s deep throw in was battled for in front of the Yaks goal.
Aubree Skone got a foot to the ball to open space for Eileen Rayna who buried a shot in the upper left corner for a 1-0 Warrior lead.
The Warriors out-shot the Yaks 10-3 over the first 45 minutes and earned three corner kicks while holding the Yaks to zero corners.
The Warrior defense made the 1-0 lead stand up until the 59th minute.
A combination of Vigil passing to McDonald to Makayla Higber resulted in Higber lifting a shot that Gunter leaped and got a finger on, but could not push Higber’s shot out of the net, and it was 1-1 with about 30 minutes left.
“The girls played really well in the first half,” Hacker added. “In the second half, we couldn’t really get our foot on the ball. Thus, we got countered on the goal we gave up.”
The rest was pretty even until the Warriors made a desparate run late.
Cossio to Crist cleared space, but Crist to Jessica Maher for a shot was defended.
Maher had a promising cross in the 87th minute but the Yaks headed it out.
In the 89th minute, an errant Warrior pass rolled free and Eliza Christensen, now in goal for the Yaks, left her line but won the race to the ball.
The Warriors got a deep free kick form Schneider in a last hurrah, but were offsides to finish the 1-1 draw.
The Warriors out shot the Yaks 12-4 for the game, and earned six corners and held the Yaks cornerless.
The Warriors remain atop the East standings but drop to 7-0-1, 12-0-1 overall. The Yaks remain second at 5-1-2.
“I like where we are at, first in the East,” Hacker said. “Sometimes in soccer the ball doesn’t bounce your way. Fortunately for us today, the result was a draw and we still get a point.
“Yakima was better organized and set back a little,” Hacker continued. “That made it harder for us to play the way we wanted (as we did at their place in a 4-0 win). That’s going to happen the second time around. I’m not disappointed in the girls, they played well for the most part, we just needed to capitalize on the opportunities we had.”
The Warriors host Wenatchee Valley Saturday at noon.
“We’ll look to re-group and get it going again for Wenatchee on Saturday.” Hacker summarized.