ROYAL CITY — The Royal girls were coming off a double-overtime loss to Connell six days previous that ended in a shootout loss to the Eagles. On Sept. 18, head coach Jens Jensen's young club stood its ground against one of the best teams in the South Central Athletic Association East, falling 2-0 to Warden at David Nielsen Stadium.
The crowd was loud and with exception of a couple mistakes at critical moments, the Knights (1-4, 1-3 SCAC East) held their own. Goalkeeper Chenoa Louie made 7 of her game-high 11 saves in the second half to keep the Knights in the match. The Cougars took advantage of a miscommunication between Louie and the defense minutes into the second half and Grace Richins scored 1:42 into the period and the Cougars (4-0, 2-0 SCAC East) took what proved to be an insurmountable two-goal lead. As long as it was just a one-goal lead, there was a chance.
But once it jumped up to a two-goal differential, the Knights, who took just three shots on goal, all in the second half, were challenged.
“Warden has a handful of quality girls who are dangerous and who lead the attack. We hoped to stifle them and begin to find our own creative rhythm,” said Royal coach Jens Jensen, whose team was outshot 19-5. “While we looked better as the match went on, we have still not quite put it all together.”
Ashlyn Yamane put on a burst of speed on a cutback cross, gathered the Aubree Skone through ball and beat Royal goalkeeper Chenoa Louie in the 22nd minute to score the first goal of Tuesday night's SCAC East match.
The Cougars took 19 shots and put 13 of them on goal, compared to five Knights shots, three of which were on goal. Ellie Conahan made three saves in net, including a point blank shot by Royal's Arely Cruz.
Cruz pushed up the right wing and made a nifty counter step inside the defender, driving into the box late in the second half. Her shot was intended to go low to the near post, but the ball lifted just ever so slightly and Conahan made a spectacular save, gathering the ball with both hands on the big right-footed shot. Louie made seven of her 11 saves in the second half.
Royal midfielder Lindsey Carrasco had two shots. Amy Sandoval, Raylie Wardenaar and Cruz had a shot apiece.
“It's always a challenge to play on turf, but I thought they all stepped up,” Warden coach Hannah Mohs said. “The ball bounces higher. The through balls that would be there are quicker. We work on making sure we're assisting each other and helping each other out as much as possible.”
Warden hosts Kiona-Benton (4-1, 3-0) on Thursday and Royal travels to Cle Elum on Sept. 25.
Warden 1 1 - 2 Royal 0 0 - 0 W - Ashlyn Yamane (Aubree Skone), 22:44 W - Grace Richins (unassisted), 51:11 Shots on goal: Warden 13, Royal 5 Saves: Elli Conahan (Warden) 3, Chenoa Louie (Royal), 11