OTHELLO — Othello soccer fell at home in a close battle to Ellensburg, 1-0, last Thursday. The Huskies finished the regular season at 6-3 in the CWAC.
The Bulldogs came out firing in the first half, peppering Othello keeper Lane Simpson, but were unable to put anything in the back of the net. The Huskies were able to respond with some shots of their own, but were only able to put one on frame in the first half. Neither side could break the tie as the first half ended in a 0-0 tie.
The Huskies came out in the second half and Hailee Guzman on a break quickly, before the sophomore forward was taken out inside the box on a strong tackle. The young striker was forced to leave the game for most of the second half. The penalty shot went high, bouncing off the middle crossbar.
The Bulldogs found themselves with yet another corner kick in the match a few minutes later. The ball bounced off a few players, before an Othello player misplayed the ball into their own net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead nine minutes into the second half.
The Bulldogs had a couple of chances to double their lead but were unsuccessful. After Guzman’s return late in the second half, the Huskies were able to put pressure on, with a pair of free kicks from outside the box. A header from Gracie Sorenson on one of these kicks went just wide of tying the game as the Bulldogs held on for the victory.
The Bulldogs finished with 14 shots in the game, putting nine on frame. The Huskies finished with seven shots, putting four on goal.
Othello head coach Juan Garcia said he honestly couldn’t be more pleased with the result. Early in the season, Garcia said he talked with his players about coming up short in close games, and that it’s just part of the game.
“They played hard, they played as a team, they communicated well,” Garcia said. “I think our plays were a little bit more built than theirs, unfortunately, we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”
Garcia said the finishing was just a bit off in the match and that his sophomore forward going down early in the second half hurt the team, both missing her presence and mentally.
“You saw when she came out of the field the girls dropped a little bit in their level of playing,” Garcia said. “But we put her back in there and picked it back up. The last ten minutes were intense.”
The Othello head coach said a game against one of the top teams in the CWAC in Ellensburg is a great way to “paint a picture” of the playoffs ahead.
“Them coming here and us being able to play the way we did with them, I think it shows the girls a lot,” Garcia said. And it’ll build some confidence playing some of the teams we’ve already played and beaten. We’re not expecting any games to be easy but we’ll take it one game at a time.”
The Huskies also celebrated Senior Night in their final home game, with five seniors on the roster. In his first season as head coach, Garcia said it hurts losing these players only having been with them for one year.”
“As time goes on maybe I’ll get used to it, maybe not,” Garcia said. “But you get a bond with the team that you coach and you spend so much time with them on the pitch. It sucks for me, but maybe they’ve learned something and know that this is a great season for Othello.”
Editor’s note: Othello will play Quincy in its district tournament opener Tuesday night after The Sun Tribune’s press deadline.