Western Nevada soccer falls to North Idaho
Appeal Sports Editor
Western Nevada College women’s soccer coach Hillary Arthur took little consolation in the fact that her team has played on even terms with the other two Scenic West Athletic Conference clubs, North Idaho College and Salt Lake Community College.
The Wildcats have suffered two close losses to both those clubs, with the latest coming on Saturday at Carson High in a 2-1 defeat to North Idaho. Western Nevada also lost to Salt Lake 1-0.
“Last place,” said Arthur when asked about where her team stands with the other two clubs in the conference. “But the good thing is, it’s still early.”
The Wildcats (6-3, 0-2) still have road games with North Idaho and Salt Lake and will see them again in the Scenic West postseason tournament. For now they trail North Idaho (2-0), which has also beaten Salt Lake and Salt Lake (1-1).
While it obviously wasn’t the result the Wildcats wanted, it was still a strong showing since Western Nevada is a team with nine freshmen in its starting lineup while North Idaho returns 13 players from last year.
“I thought that NIC was a very physical team,” Arthur said. “They’re physical. They’re a strong team.”
But Arthur also talked like Saturday was an opportunity lost for her team. While the Wildcats had a slight edge in shots 13-12, they did have most of the shots that actually had a serious chance of being goals.
“I still feel like we controlled most of the game,” Arthur said. “Soccer’s the kind of game where you can dominate but if you don’t get the ball in the net you’re not going to win. It just didn’t go in today. It wasn’t our lucky day.”
Western Nevada’s fortunes did change in the last eight minutes, but it was too little, too late. The Wildcats trailed 2-0 and it looked like they were going down 3-0 when Rachel Lopez had a one-on-one chance with Wildcat goalie Allie Otto.
But Otto made the last of her 10 saves and within a matter of seconds, Virginia Loyola sent a long ball down the field to Alexia Balmaseda, who was fouled in the goal box. Balmaseda converted the penalty kick to cut the deficit to 2-1, but Northern Idaho was able to hold on.
Otto began the second half by making a diving save that kept WNC within 1-0. But with about 15 minutes left, Lopez scored what turned out to be a huge goal when she scored on a header off of Lisa Carter’s corner kick to make it 2-0.
In the first half, Otto made a save on a header and then the Wildcats took control, but couldn’t convert. Balmaseda controlled the ball in the center of the box and set a pass to the right side of the box to Devan Wellington, but Wellington was denied by the North Idaho goalie. Moments later, Balmaseda was also denied by the North Idaho goalie.
Erica Sonnenberg then scored on a free kick from about 30 yards to give North Idaho a 1-0 lead. Moments later, Otto had to come out to temporarily stop Carter on a breakaway. Despite Otto’s efforts, Carter still managed to have a wide open shot on goal, but she sent the shot high.
Near the end of the first half, Ashley Winter had a close range shot that was denied by the North Idaho goalie and Jordan Forman sent a shot from the left side across the goal mouth that was deflected by the North Idaho goalie.
Among others who had shots for the Wildcats were Nicole Garn, Kalah Minter, Meghan Olsen, Marina Tharin and Cassie Romeo.