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Columbia High 2, Woodland 1

Bruins outlast Beavers for record sixth win in a row

Columbia High's girls soccer team won a program record sixth in a row last Thursday, holding off Woodland for a 2-1 Trico Division victory at CHS Stadium.

Whitney Reynier scored the deciding goal for the Bruins (4-0 in Trico, 6-0 overall), knocking in the rebound after her initial shot was defended by Woodland's All-Trico goalie, Courtney Greenleaf.

From there, CHS hung on, surviving a scare with five minutes remaining when a Woodland shot at an open goal struck the left post before Columbia defenders cleared the threat.

Tense moments like that, however, are what build character and show what a team is made of.

The Bruins are, indeed, proving to be a resilient team--one that doesn't shrink under pressure.

"We've had a number of close games lately," said Bruins Coach Amy Kasenga. "But when the pressure's been on, we've been able to ramp up the intensity and get it done."

Kasenga worried that, after an easy 7-0 win at Kalama Sept. 20, CHS might suffer an emotional letdown against Woodland. She needn't have.

The Bruins played with poise and the certainty that, if they just played their game, they would come out ahead.

"That night was one of those nights where we noticed that what we were doing were the things we've been working on for three years," Kasenga noted.

Shannon McNallan gave CHS a 1-0 lead in the first half, scoring off an assist from Mackenzie VanLaar in the 20th minute.

The midfielder's eighth goal of the season followed several CHS attacks, including a header by Kelley McNallan in the early going that was barely off target.

White Salmon held onto the one-goal lead until the 48th minute, when Woodland's Kylie Brusco took advantage of a crowded goal box to sneak the equalizer through CHS's defense.

That was all the Bruins needed to re-energize their own offense.

"From that moment on we stepped it up a put together some grat attacks," said Kasenga.

Sparked by the play of VanLaar, McNallan, Reynier, Chelan Weiler and Naomi Halpern, the Bruins kept steady pressure on the Beavers.

It paid off when Reynier scored her second goal of the season in the 54th minute.

That was one of 14 second-half shots fired by CHS, which finished with 21 shots to Woodland's 10. Bruins goalkeeper Kelsey Kidd got saves on six of the Beavers' attempts.

Columbia 7, at Kalama 0 --

Chelan Weiler and Shannon McNallan each scored two goals in the Bruins first shutout of the season.

Columbia, which led 2-0 after eight minutes and 6-0 at halftime, also got goals from Kelley McNallan, Naomi Halpern, and Whitney Reynier.

The Bruins tallied 24 shots in the match to the Chinooks' two.

"We wanted to play with great intensity and get some early goals, and we did that," said Kasenga, who was able to substitute liberally throughout the match.

Next up:

Columbia visits Hockinson this Thursday for its final tune-up before going head-to-head with Trico co-leader Ridgefield there next Tuesday.

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