It took less than a minute in Thursday night’s 1A Trico League soccer match for Toledo/Winlock to realize that they were playing with fire. In the end, Castle Rock sent T/W to their bus with a 3-0 defeat.
In years passed, United has dominated neighboring Castle Rock, but this year Coach Brian Ziese has brought lawlessness to a United community.
"The thing that kind of hurt them was Yoder," Ziese said of United’s star player and apparent lack of depth. "We knew to stop her. I hadn’t read in the paper that anybody else has scored for them. Yoder is the one. She is one of those girls you just have to know where she is at and deny her stuff."
That is exactly what the Rocket’s did on Thursday. Solid midfield play barely allowed the ball to the United forwards Yoder, Allison Wolf and a variety of substitutes. Typically a forward, T/W speedster Courtney Moore was tasked with the unenviable task of checking Risner.
"I have kind of got my midfielders figured out," explained Ziese. "Now we finally know our positions."
Ziese was particularly impressed with the play of Mali Skreen.
"Mali, she stepped it up," said the coach. "She is the one that dribbled and was looking and when you have a good center-mid, and maybe beat some people, that opens up the game."
It was the speed of Mikayla Risner that made all of the difference in the first minute and then again in the 49th minute. Jaynie Snaza added a third goal later in the second half.
Both teams knew one thing coming into this game. Neither could realistically afford a loss to the other. Now Castle Rock has a significant advantage in trying to reach the final playoff spots in the Trico League. Woodland and White Salmon have taken a dominant lead, but a logjam of teams vie for the final spots.
"We have a lot of teams that come to us now," said Ziese. "We have Woodland coming to us, La Center coming to us and King’s. We have to beat those teams."
Thus far, CR has one loss at home to White Salmon who is in second place in the league. The Rockets are now tied for third with La Center.
"I tell the girls that staying undefeated at home is a big deal," continued Ziese. "That is always my goal as a coach. If you win all the ones at home, that gives you eight wins. If you win half on the road, that put you right there."
What Ziese doesn’t say is that one of those games on the road, include another date with Toledo/Winlock on Halloween night.