RICHLAND — Eliana Coburn fed Taylor McGill for a goal in the second half as Walla Walla High School’s girls soccer team fought to climb out of a 3-0 hole against Hanford in their Mid-Columbia Conference season opener here on Tuesday.
But the Blue Devils fell short, ending up with a 3-1 loss — their first of the year.
“It was a good (MCC) opening match for us honestly,” Blue Devils coach Dana Evans said. “It was our first full game as a team, with a full roster, and we had all our girls playing tough.
“We played extremly tough on defense — there were just a couple of little instances that hurt us,” Evans said. “And we had a bunch of opportunities on offense. Actaully, the majority of the time we had the ball on their half of the field. There’s just some things we still need to do to put it all together.”
Wa-Hi had started the season on Saturday at Yakima Valley Community College where they routed Adna, 3-0, in a non-league match.
Jennifer Huntsman, Katelyn Hassler and Reese Fewell scored goals in the Wa-Hi win, with assists from Emoree Lash and Gianna Smith.
The Blue Devils already had 22 shots, 14 on goal, by halftime.
Adna failed to ever hit the back on the net.
“We didn’t have our full roster, but it was good for the girls to get open to pay on college campus,” Evans said. “We start slowly, but we then ended up taking 45 shots.”
The Hanford match, Wa-Hi’s first MCC challenge of the year, was another story.
Hanford already had a 3-0 lead before the Blue Devils got on the scoreboard in the second half, with Coburn assisting McGill on a header.
“Hard fought battle by a mentally and physically tough group of ladies,” the Blue Devils posted on Twitter.
The Blue Devils wound up taking 15 shots, 10 on goal, but Hanford harrassed the Wa-Hi net with a relentless attack.
Wa-Hi goalie Crystal Kelly finished with 10 saves.
“As far as a team, our defense was awesome,” Evans said. “Our girls handled it everytime Hanford was on the attack, but some of their goals came on set pieces.
“Offensively, we did a good job of creating a lot of chances,” Evans said. “We were on the door several times. Now, it’s just a matter of finding that next step to finish.”
The Blue Devils look to bounce back on Thursday night when they go to Kennewick for another MCC match starting at 7 p.m.
Kennewick is winless, having lost to both Hanford and Southridge, but the Blue Devils expect another challenge.
“We know we can’t take anything for granted,” Evans said. “The girls are anxious to get back out there.”