WARDEN — Playoffs are far in the distance.
Warden is anxious to get back after returning all but one player to a team that was one win from the state tournament in a loaded district. However, there is still a whole regular season to play.
That regular season began with a win, albeit a frustrating one, against Quincy 6-3.
“I think that’s why we have nonleague games first,” Warden head coach Hannah Mohs said. “I think it’s a reminder for the girls that it’s not going to be a piece of cake and they have to light a fire under each other and challenge each other so when it comes to the game they’re ready.”
Warden opened up a 3-0 lead within the first 20 minutes before Quincy began to offer some resistance. Quincy, a team that has struggled to compete when faced with a talented roster, was buoyed by increased physicality and the play of freshman Emily Wurl.
Wurl consistently beat Warden’s defense up the left sideline and finished with a hat trick.
“She’s got great work ethic and she’s quick on the ball to cut and get further up the field,” first-year Quincy head coach Francisco Tafoya said.
For Warden, Wurl was a stark reminder of the problems Kiona-Benton forward Ariel Loften posed a season ago.
“They have one really good player and it reminded me a lot of the Ki-Be girl,” Mohs said. “We couldn’t stop her and I hope that really lighted a fire under my girls to realize they’ve got a lot of improving to do.”
Aaliyah Escamilla matched Wurl’s hat trick with her own. All-state forward Aubree Skone freed herself for a goal early in the second half, having dealt with physical play on many of her runs.
“We’re trying to figure out who’s going to hold what position so having multiple people up there with Aubree and Aaliyah kind of throws a wrench into it when it was pretty smooth, but we have to find somebody to be able to get them the ball,” Mohs said.
Behind Wurl’s hat trick, Quincy pushed until the final whistle and had another goal called back after an offsides penalty. A welcomed sign against a Warden team that hopes to play into November.
“Usually, last year we were on our heels just backed into the goal and this year, just that last 10-minute showing, shows a lot of promise of what our season’s going to be,” Tafoya said.
Score by halves
W — 4 2 6
Q — 1 2 3
First half: 1, W, Aaliyah Escamilla (Aubree Skone) 4:00. 2, W, Arely Rangel 8:00. 3, W, Bailey Whitney (Grace Richins) 17:00. 4, Q, Emily Wurl 19:00. 5, W, Escamilla (Whitney) 37:00.
Second half: 1, W, Skone 46:00. 2, Q, Wurl 56:00. 3, W, Escamilla 60:00. 4, Q, Wurl 68:00.
Ephrata 12, Royal 0
EPHRATA — Nikola Brzezny scored four times and Ephrata routed Royal 12-0.
Brzezny scored twice in each half.