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'A tough way to lose'

Despite shootout loss to Rockets, Bruins cling to second in standings

Columbia High lost its first shootout of the season, falling to Castle Rock, 5-4, in Trico Division girls soccer action here last Thursday.

The loss didn't cost the Bruins their position in the standings, however.

That's because Woodland, the team CHS is competing with for second place, dropped a 2-1 decision to Stevenson.

With two matches remaining in the regular season, the Bruins hold a one-match lead over the Beavers in the battle for the Trico's number-two playoff seed.

Columbia moved ahead in the standings after defeating Woodland, 2-1, here Oct. 19.

The Bruins (9-3 in Trico, 10-4 overall) close out the regular season with a match at division-leading Ridgefield today, Oct. 28.

Castle Rock 5, at Columbia High 4 --

The Bruins let a 1-0 lead slip away late in the second half of regulation, then couldn't put the Rockets away in overtime or during the shootout.

"We shouldn't have let it get to that point," said Bruins Coach Amy Kasenga. "Our attack was very strong throughout the game; we just didn't connect."

The Bruins outshot the Rockets, 16-10, in the first half and 28-24 overall. But missed opportunities came back to haunt them as the match wore on.

Columbia failed to deliver on two penalty kicks and had a shot bang off the crossbar in the first half, which ended in a 0-0 deadlock.

Early in the second half, however, freshman Shannon McNallan--who earned player of the match honors for CHS--knocked in a left-foot shot to the near-left post that broke the impasse and gave CHS a 1-0 edge.

But Castle Rock kept up the pressure with a relentless attack that finally yielded the tying goal.

"I knew it was just a matter of time because Castle Rock kept coming and coming," Kasenga said. "Defensively, we didn't play a very strong game. That was our weakness."

The Bruins' defense rallied, though, to hold the Rockets Rock scoreless in the two five-minute overtime periods. However, the Bruins also failed to score.

That sent the teams to a shootout--something CHS had not been involved in since it began play in 2003.

The score was even at 3-3 through the first three rounds of penalty kicks. But in the fourth, Castle Rock scored--while Columbia missed--to seize the advantage.

"It was a tough way to lose," said Kasenga, noting she's not a fan of the shootout tiebreaking method.

"But," she added, "it was a good experience to have before we go to the post-season. I, as a coach, learned some valuable lessons, as did the girls. Now that we've been through it, we'll be better prepared for the next time."

At Columbia High 2, Woodland 1 --

All the scoring in the CHS-Woodland rematch occurred in the first half of the Oct. 19 Trico Division match at CHS Stadium.

Sophomore Chani Weiler evened the score at 1-1 with a second-chance penalty kick in the 21st minute after Woodland's goalkeeper was penalized for moving too soon on the first attempt.

The score remained tied late into the half until freshman Shannon McNallan scored an unassisted goal to give CHS the lead for good.

Woodland kicked off the scoring in the second minute of play--a goal Kasenga said left the Bruins unfazed.

"It was early and the girls were pumped and ready for a tough match," she noted. "We just needed to settle down and start playing our game."

The Bruins did just that by controlling time of possession. Unofficial times showed Columbia had the ball for 42 minutes to Woodland's 36.

"We played with more of a competitive edge," Kasenga said. "By halftime it was `Who wanted it more? Who wanted second place?' We went out for the second half with the attitude that we wanted it more."

Columbia outshot Woodland in both halves and 16-9 overall in avenging a 2-0 loss to the Beavers on Sept. 23.

Player of the match honors went to Weiler, who spearheaded CHS's attack, and McNallan, whose play in the middle field helped the Bruins win the transition game.


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