Losses at Ridgefield and La Center last week marked the end of the first half of Trico Division girls soccer play and the start of the second for Columbia High.
The Bruins (5-3 in Trico, 7-3 overall) were shut out for the first time in 2005, losing to the defending champion Spudders, 6-0, Oct. 4.
Columbia's losing streak reached three matches Oct. 6 when the Wildcats beat the Bruins for the first time in three tries this season, 2-1.
Bruins Coach Amy Kasenga said Ridgefield stymied Columbia with its "constant motion," which resulted in a 21-shot advantage for the Spudders.
"They frustrated us," Kasenga said. "Because they were always moving, it felt like they had two or three extra men on the field."
Ridgefield's defense, which Kasenga called "probably the strongest part of their team," kept Columbia's offensive attacks well-contained. The Bruins managed five shots on goal compared to the Spudders' 26.
Ridgefield made good three of its 13 first-half shots, scoring goals in the 13th, 21st and 31st minutes for a 3-0 halftime lead.
The Spudders didn't score again until the 60th minute of play.
"The best part of our game was the first 20 minutes of the second half," Kasenga noted.
All told, CHS's coach attributed four of the Spudders' six goals to poor defensive positioning taken by the Bruins inside their goal box.
"Our defenders weren't marking properly on the goal side, and all it took was a foot on the ball to find the back of the net," Kasenga said. "That's become a problem for us, but it's something that can be fixed."
To get the offense back on track, Kasenga said she is going to encourage her players to make use of scoring opportunities when they come rather than pressing and trying to force the action.
"We need to take shots from the outside," she continued. "We didn't really challenge their goalkeeper. We have the skills to do that. It's just a matter of being confident and putting the shots on goal."
Kasenga selected sweeper Chelsea Ludwig as her player of the match.
At La Center 2, Columbia High 1 --
Michelle McMillen accounted for the Bruins' score with her first goal of the season.
It came off a cross from Chelan Weiler during second-half action and tied the match at 1-1.
"Michelle was standing by the far post for a nice deflection into the the far corner," Kasenga said.
Columbia had other chances to score--it outshot La Center by a 27-12 margin and had more possessions--but couldn't find the finishing touch.
La Center's goals came by way of a penalty kick in the first half and a defensive letdown with about 10 minutes remaining in the match.
"We played well," Kasenga said. "It just didn't go our way for various reasons."
Player of the match honors went to Mackenzie VanLaar and Naomi Halpern.
"Mackenzie was solid, winning the majority of balls in the air with six shots on target. She was a real threat in the first half," Kasenga said. "And in the second half, Naomi was right in the middle of the action. She had eight or nine head balls and was working hard to make something happen."