TUKWILA, Wash. — Emilio Gonzalez and Eduardo Ramirez took turns scoring goals for the Walla Walla Community College men’s soccer team less than six minutes into its friendly with Everett, and the Warriors went on to claim a 2-0 win in Northwest Athletic Conference action here at the Starfire Sports Complex on Friday.
Sophomore goalie Alex Grimaldo came up with a huge save as WWCC picked up its second shutout win in as many days after a 2-0 decision over Clark here on Thursday.
“I was very pleased with the start that we had to the match,” Warriors coach Ben Rotert said. “To get two goals in the first six minutes is a dream start. We are continuing to improve and can really be dangerous if we continue to score early like today.
“We had another great team effort to start the season off with two straight shutouts,” Rotert continued. “This shows the commitment and determination the team has to working hard and making it very tough for teams to get chances. We still can be sharper in some areas of our attacking and being more creative, but we’re excited to get back to training and get work in getting better.”
The Warriors hit the road again this coming week as they will face Evergreen State in Olympia on Thursday and then Pierce College in Puyallup on Friday.
Walla Walla came out firing on Friday, when sophomore Emilio Gonzales smashed a free kick into the upper corner from 25 yards out in the fourth minute.
The Warriors only followed that up with more immediate pressure.
Gonzales created quickly off of an Everett turnover, found freshman Eduardo Ramirez on an inside cut and his shot deflected off an Everett defender and ended up in the back of the net.
The game became a stalemate for the remainder of the half.
Everett was able to draw a penalty at the 20th minute after Walla Walla failed to deal with a cross, but Grimaldo came up with a huge save to keep the game 2-0.
The second half saw WWCC sit back and be a little more defensive, protecting the early lead.
WWCC freshman Quincy Castillo had the best chance of the second half at the 65th minute when he picked the ball up at center about 30 yards from goal and danced around a few Everett defenders, only to see his shot sail wide if the mark.
The Warriors continued a strong start to the 2018 season, as they hope to get WWCC back in the hunt for a conference crown.
WWCC finished last year in the NWAC tournament semifinals.
“As far as my outlook for the season is to keep improving,” Rotert said. “We had a great run last year finishing third. I think we have a great mix of experience bringing back nine players, and have done a great job bringing in freshman that will have the ability to contribute right away and have a major influence in what we do.
“We are very deep at every position and have the ability to get better when we being guys off of the bench,” Rotert continued. “That is a nice luxury and will help us as a ton as we get into the grind of league play.
“We would love to get back to the final four in November and make a run at the east region title,” Rotert added. “However, at the end of the day, we just need to make playoffs and give ourselves self a chance to advance. This group has started off well, but still has a lot of work to do to be a playoff team in the always tough East Region.”
WWCC mixes several veterans of the 2017 run with a talented group of newcomers.
“Key players that are returning would be forwards Freddy Rodriguez and Andy Arroyo, midfielder Emilio Gonzales as well as defenders Sergio Avalos and Alex Espana with goalkeeper Alex Grimaldo set do do good things,” Rotert said. “This entire sophomore group of nine has been so fun to work with.
“They are competitive, fun, and have a fantastic work ethic,” Rotert continued. “They want to win and set a solid foundation for the freshman build on and know the standard that we have.
“Our freshman class has an exciting future with many high school state championships, all-state and first/second-team all-conference recognition,” Rotert added. “A few to note would be Jose Peralta from Boardman (Ore.), Eduardo Ramirez from Sunnyside (Wash.) and Lupe Barajas and Hector Pena from Caldwell (Idaho).
“Like I said, these a just a few of many fantastic freshman that we have.”
WWCC brings plenty of firepower to compete in a challenging league.
“The team is at full strength and just won their first two matches of the year at the NWAC friendlies,” Rotert said. “The team is very deep at all positions, making it very exciting to know we have so many options and flexibility to give teams different looks.
“Again, I’m very excited about this group as they hold something special about them,” Rotert continued. “They have embodied our team first attitude, which I believe has contributed to our early success.
“As great as the early success has been, we still have a ton of work to do and are still a long ways off from being a finished project,” Rotert added. “Looking forward to see what this group can do.”