The Walla Walla Community College men’s soccer team needed a clutch goal in the 89th minute by newcomer Edwin Romero, fresh out of Wa-Hi, to get by winless Blue Mountain on Saturday.
Back at it on Wednesday on the Warriors’ Tausick Way pitch, Romero scored again three minutes in, and later fed Freddy Rodriguez for another goal.
Meanwhile, Antonio Campos made six saves and recorded his second shutout of the season as the first-place Warriors had a more comfortable 2-0 win over North Idaho in NWAC East Region action.
WWCC (6-1-1 overall, 4-0-0 in the East) is on a four-game winning streak.
“(I) was excited how we started the match,” Warriors coach Ben Rotert said. “We had a wake up call last week against Blue Mountain and had to grind though that match to get a result.
“We knew we wanted to start strong and were able to do that,” he added. “I thought we executed our game plan fairly well and capitalized on the situations we wanted to.”
The Warriors will go to second-place Spokane (3-1-0 in the East) for their next match on Saturday.
Spokane had to rally with a pair of second-half goals for a 2-1 win at Columbia Basin on Wednesday.
WWCC wasted little time jumping on North Idaho, Romero getting things started as he picked the ball up from just under the half way line around the third minute.
A burst of speed saw Romero get around his defender and drive towards goal and fire a shot from an angle, eight yards out that went off the back post and in to give the Warriors an early advantage.
Walla Walla created more opportunities attacking from a wide position, but failed not able to capitalize anymore in the first half.
North Idaho began to gain some traction as the half went on, causing some trouble to the Warrior backline.
A quick restart in the 25th minute saw NIC try to chip Antonio Campos in the WWCC goal.
The Warrior goalkeeper was scrambling back, only to have the shot go off the crossbar and out of danger.
Ten minutes later, a miss hit NIC cross floated up and bounced off the crossbar again.
Walla Walla was able to strike again in the 57th minute and give themselves some breathing room as sophomore Freddy Rodriguez put away a fantastic finish set up from Romero.
“Rodriguez found himself a half-yard of space with the Romero pass,” Rotert said. “And with defenders on his back, (Rodriguez) managed a powerful shot to the side netting to double the Warrior advantage.”
NIC continued to press and nearly pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute as they combined into the box, but WWCC freshman Eduardo Ramirez came across to have a defensive tackle that ended the threat.
“I’m proud of the guys as each player is contributing in their own way,” Rotert said. “The guys are bought in on the team aspect and willing to do whatever is the best for the team.
“It’s a great atmosphere at training, in the locker room, and shows on the field,” Rotert added. “(We’re) looking forward to our match at Spokane on Saturday. It will be a big one.”