The WWCC men’s soccer team clinched a spot in the NWAC championship tournament despite failing to score a goal.
Having battled Spokane to 0-0 draw in an East Region match here on Wednesday, the WWCC Warriors added one crucial point to their division lead with the regular season down to its final week.
With only two games left, the first-place Warriors (9-2-3 overall, 7-1-2 in the East) can finish no lower than third place — the last seed to the playoffs.
“We came into this match looking to get something out of it,” Warriors coach Ben Rotert said. “A win would have been fantastic, but a point solidified a playoff spot for us.
“So we’re excited with the point,” Rotert continued. “We would have been more happy with the three (for winning).
“But at the end of the day, we always want to at least make playoffs,” Rotert added. “And that’s solidified for us today, so we’ll take the point and go with it.”
WWCC next will play at fifth-place North Idaho on Saturday afternoon.
The tie, meanwhile, knocked Spokane under a victorious Columbia Basin in regional standings.
Spokane (now 6-2-2 in the East) came here in second place, looking to tied WWCC for the top spot with a victory.
The Sasquatch had already edged WWCC, 1-0, in their first match up at Spokane on Sept. 22.
But this time, neither side managed to score.
WWCC goalie Alex Grimaldo made four saves while Spokane finished with a 9-5 advantage in shots as well as a 10-4 edge in corner kicks.
“It was just two quality teams going after it, and that’s the fun aspect of it,” Rotert said. “We knew what it was going to be — we know what they do, they know what we do — so it was just something that was going to come down to who wanted it a little bit more, and who was going to be able to execute and capitalize on someone’s mistakes.
“I feel like both sides were pretty solid and minimized their mistakes,” Rotert continued. “It was a stalemate.
“Good match, all the way around.”
“We didn’t create as many attacking opportunities, clear chance that we wanted,” Rotert said. “I thought that we did a really good job defending set pieces.
“We gave them a lot of fouls within 25, 30, 40 yards so they had opportunities to serve into the box,” Rotert continued. “We were defending a lot of corners today, but we were able to defend those really well and not give them many opportunities off of those.
“Shout out to our team defensively on those set pieces.”
The Warriors came away on a positive note.
“Our goal at the end of every year is to at least make the playoffs,” Rotert said. “If we at least make playoffs, that gives us a chance.
“Obviously we want to finish as high up in the East as we can, and we definitely have an opportunity,” Rotert continued. “We hold our own destiny to take the East Region, and we’re going to keep going towards that goal.”
Article by Hector del Castillo of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin