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Girls Soccer

Bruins eke out two wins, remain tied for first place in Trico

Player of the match Shannon McNallan scored with 45 seconds remaining in the second overtime period here Sept. 13 to lift Columbia High over La Center, 3-2, in Trico Division girls soccer action.

The Bruins followed that up with a 2-1 victory in regulation last Thursday at Stevenson to remain unbeaten at 4-0 and to gain a share of the division lead at 2-0.

Columbia had played both teams the week before in non-league matches, winning those by scores of 3-1 and 9-2, respectively.

Bruins Coach Amy Kasenga said that familiarity enabled La Center and Stevenson to do some tinkering with their lineups that helped make the second meetings more intense.

"The biggest effect was that we played La Center four days before and they knew where the dangers were," Kasenga said. "We were very fresh in their minds."

Still, La Center couldn't stop CHS from getting out to a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes on a pair of goals by forward Chani Weiler.

In the 9th minute, Weiler ran down a ball put through La Center's defense by midfielder Shannon McNallan, then slid a shot from the right of the goal box past Wildcats goalkeeper Inge Vandersolm and into the left corner.

Weiler's second goal--her fifth of the season--followed 11 minutes later, from nearly the same spot as the first, into the same corner of the net, off an assist by Naomi Halpern.

The score remained 2-0 until the 54th minute when La Center's Katie Rinaker booted home a penalty kick that came after a CHS defender fouled an LC player at the end line.

La Center continued to pressure in its bid to tie the score and threatened again in the 66th minute with a free kick from about 18 yards.

But CHS goalkeeper Kelsey Kidd was able to get her gloves on the shot, bat the ball in the air and come down with it for one of her 10 saves.

"Kelsey had a big night of goalkeeping," Kasenga said. "She did a great job of holding the right position and came up with some big stops."

The Wildcats eventually tied the match a 2-apiece in the 77th minute, with Shay Cheeseman knocking in the equalizer during a scramble in front of the CHS goal.

One five-minute, sudden-death overtime period failed to produce a winner, though McNallan's free kick from about 25 yards had potential until it hit the crossbar and caromed over.

McNallan's aim was better as the second OT wound down under a minute.

"Shannon was unmarked and in great position, got a nice pass from the corner and finished it off for us," said Kasenga, who credited the victory to her players' will to prevail against opponents that were their equals.

Statistically, the two teams were almost evenly matched. Each attempted 11 shots in regulation. But in overtime, CHS outshot LC, 4-0.

"The girls brought it on and really stepped up their intensity in overtime," she said.

Like La Center, Stevenson proved to be a better-prepared foe the second time around.

But as they have in three of their first four matches, the Bruins netted the first goal.

After being thwarted on her first one-on-one scoring attempt, Weiler got within point-blank range in the eighth minute, made a move around Stevenson goalkeeper ????? and scored.

Kelley McNallan made it 2-0 four minutes later with her second goal of the season, on a shot from 18 yards.

"The first 15 minutes of play we dominated. We looked really solid," Kasenga said.

Kaitlyn Richards, who had both Stevenson goals in the first meeting, halved CHS's lead with a scoring shot in the 18th minute.

That was all the scoring there would be the rest of the way, though each team had opportunities.

"In the second half, out of 10 shots, we had four or five hit the post," Kasenga noted. "We were giving them a lot of action, but their goalkeeper played a great game. She was one of the reasons it was so close."

The match almost got closer late in the second half when Richards lined up for a penalty kick. But Richards "went soft" with the shot "and Kelsey made the save," Kasenga said.

Stevenson finished with seven shots on goal to CHS's 28. Kidd, who tallied six saves, earned the Bruins' player of the match award.

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