After experiencing coaching changes and numerous injuries Grays Harbor faced one of the tougher teams in the conference and settled for a 4-0 loss against Highline Community College at Stewart Field on Saturday.
Highline (10-0-1, 9-0 NWAC West) came in to Saturday’s contest with a region-leading 29 goals against a banged up Grays Harbor side that is yet to find the back of the net.
As has often been the case this year, the Chokers (0-11-1, 0-9) were playing shorthanded with 10 players.
Grays Harbor put up a fight but allowed its first goal in the 20th minute with a goal from Rayna Santiago with the help of an assist from Skyylerblu Johnson.
The Thunderbirds added an insurance goal in the 32nd minute when Santiago crossed the ball to Hannah Anderson, who headed it into the goal before Chokers keeper Kristi Raffelson could cut down the cross.
Raffelson and Anderson collided on the play with Raffelson aggravating the back injury she was trying to play through on the fall.
The Chokers keeper said she has been taking extra precautions to stay on the field.
“I’ve had the back injury since the first day of the season, so I’ve been slowly fighting through it. I’ve been taking a lot of medication, putting a back brace on and really trying to take care of myself,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of legs and I’m just as hurt as anyone else, so I don’t feel like I have the right to come out (of the game) either.”
After taking a moment to gather herself, Raffelson stayed in the game to make 36 saves.
Highline went into the halftime break up 2-0 and added another pair of goals in the second half.
Taylor Mitchell notched a goal in the 50th minute and Cassidy O’Dell picked up a late goal in the 88th minute to complete the scoring.
Fatigue set in the second half as the Chokers had to limit their offense further and never got a shot on goal. Grays Harbor only possessed the ball on Highline’s side of the field once in the final 45 minutes.
Despite picking up another loss, newly-appointed Chokers interim head coach Irvin Vicente was pleased with the result under the circumstances.
“It’s tough to say because we have players hurt, but if we manage to play like this against the other teams I think we have a good chance to get at least one win,” he said. “Hopefully, these girls can recover.”
Saturday’s game was Vicente’s first at the helm of the team following a week of doubt surrounding the head coaching position. Former head coach Allan Carloza resigned on Oct. 3, citing differences with the athletic department regarding the best way to fill the roster.
Athletic Director Will Rider intended to have assistant coach Allie Oropeza take over as interim head coach for the remainder of the season, but she declined the promotion to focus on school.
Vicente, who also served under Carloza as an assistant this season, took over as head coach and said he intends to continue in that role next season as well.
The Chokers will continue its search for their first win in Auburn with a road game against Green River Community College at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
Defender Jenna Cross is another one of the players dealing with injury after she limped off the field to put ice on her knees. Despite the lack of healthy bodies and upheaval on the coaching staff, she said the team is maintaining a positive mindset.
“We’re doing pretty well. Our assistant coaches are taking on a lot, but they are amazing coaches and really help us,” she said. “Even though we’ve been through a lot, we’re still pushing through and I think it’ll help us in the future.”
BOYS PREP TENNIS
Centralia 5, Aberdeen 1
The Aberdeen Bobcats closed out the regular season with a 5-1 loss to WF West on Friday in Chehalis.
Aberdeen (7-5, 4-4 Evergreen 2A) struggled to find consistency with its only win comeing from the doubles team of seniors Kobie Fall and Carter Olson. The pair dropped the first five games in the first set before winning seven straight games to take the set, 7-5.
Fall and Olsen carried that momentum into the second set, winning 6-2 to take the match.
The top six Bobcts will play in the sub-district tournament on Monday in Chehalis.
Singles: Luke Walters (WF West) defeated Brice Kola (Aberdeen) 6-3, 6-0; Gabe Cuestas (WF) def. Ashdon Swope (A) 6-3, 6-1; Andrew Bogess (WF) def. Karter Downs (A) 6-1, 6-3
Doubles: Joeseph Chun/Cade Cameron (WF) def. Colton Faulkner/Romeo Sanchez (A) 6-2, 6-3; Colin Slattery/Gabe Walters (WF) def. Colby Miller/Andrew Troeh (A) 6-3, 6-2; Kobie Fall/Carter Olsen (A) def. Jacob Mcckeal/Theo Holmes (WF) 7-5, 6-2
— Ryan Sparks, Grays Harbor News Group