Statistically, the WNCC soccer team dominated its first-ever home game against Feather River. Everywhere except in the score column. As a result, the Wildcats had to settle for a 0-0 tie on Thursday afternoon in the kickoff game of their own Labor Day Classic at Edmonds Sports Complex.
WNCC (2-0-1) enjoyed a 26-6 advantage on the shot chart - 17-0 in the second half - against a Feather River squad (0-2-1) that had 11 players to start the game and only 10 on the field for the entire second half due to an injury.
"Sometimes that's the way it goes. You shoot and you shoot, and it doesn't go in," WNCC coach Hillary Arthur said. "We had a lot of opportunities that we should have been able to capitalize on. Today just wasn't our day."
Opportunity seemed to knock throughout the second half. Jessica Maule drilled an open shot that Feather River goalkeeper Ashley Bennett stopped early. Phalon Mauntel hit a high ball that glanced off the top of the crossbar in the 69th minute. The best opportunity may have come in the 75th minute when Savannah Gray was awarded a penalty kick, but she grounded the attempt wide to the left.
The penalty kick was set up Melissa Goldfin, who brought the ball down the left side and fed a pass to Chrissy Katzorke, who then crossed the ball toward the far post, where Gray drew the foul.
"We did a good job of playing the ball down the flanks into their 18. We had some good crosses, now we just need to capitalize on those crosses," Arthur said.
Feather River coach Vinny Gill was elated with the performance of his Golden Eagles, currently short six players due to various injuries and suspensions. Among the missing players is Amber Vasquez, who had 21 goals and 11 assists last year.
"I was real pleased," Gill said. "I told the girls afterward that I was proud of the way they played. You can't ask for more effort than they gave today."
Bennett, a sophomore goalkeeper from Las Vegas (Chaparral High), was credited with 13 saves, nine in the second half. Another bright spot for Feather River was Marcia Silva, a freshman defender from Valinhos, Brazil, who was solid on the defensive end and also accounted for her team's best scoring opportunity on a shot that struck the goalpost in the first half.
"She is an exceptional player," Gill said of Silva. "Even when we only had 10 players out there, she never got down. And the thing about her, she only arrived here (from Brazil) yesterday. And we're certainly glad to have her."
Camila Estefano, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, went down with an injury inside the final 10 minutes of the first half, leaving Feather River with only 10 available players.
WNCC didn't escape the injury bug unscathed, as defender Dominique Gloude was helped off the field with a groin injury in the final 10 minutes of play.
"Dominique played a good game," Arthur said. "She's our quarterback back there. She's very good at organizing, she has good skill and good vision of the field. And she can go end to end; she can win any ball in the defensive third of the field and take it to the goal."
Her defense, coupled with WNCC's midfield play, certainly made life easy for WNCC's goalkeepers, Rachelle Goulet and Lisa Berryman. Neither had a save on the day, yet Goulet only saw six shots in the first half and Berryman saw none in the second.
The Labor Day Classic continues today when Feather River plays Northern Idaho at 4 p.m. at Edmonds Complex. WNCC plays Northern Idaho in the tournament's final game at noon on Saturday.
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.