Lanie Gomez and Cydney Lind

Hermiston soccer players Lanie Gomez, left, and Cydney Lind signed letters of intent on Wednesday to play at Columbia Basin College.

When Lanie Gomez and Cydney Lind were in middle school, they were bitter rivals on the soccer field.

In fact, Lind said they did not like each other.

Fast forward a few years, and the two Hermiston seniors were signing their letters of intent together last Wednesday to continue playing together at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington.

“I’m really excited to be there with Lanie,” said Lind, who plays midfielder and defender. “As freshmen, we hated each other, but now I couldn’t imagine playing with anyone else. We have been through some hard times and games, and that has brought us closer as friends and teammates.”

Gomez, a goalie, said neither player had gotten much interest, except from CBC.

“We went together to one of their practices and we had a lot of fun,” Gomez said. “I was a little nervous, but I did what I had to do. The players were a lot of fun and had a lot of energy. It was too good of an offer to pass up.”

The Hawks finished second in the NWAC East last fall and advanced to the NWAC playoffs. They finished with a record of 15-2-4.

Second-year Hermiston coach Freddy Guizar said Gomez and Lind are his first two players to sign to play college soccer.

“It’s really exciting, and a big opportunity for them to play at a higher level,” Guizar said. “They are close enough I can watch them play and further their careers. I think Lanie can compete for a starting spot. It was an honor to coach them.”

Though he is excited for both players to start the next chapters in their lives, he knows it will not be easy to replace either one.

“It’s next player up,” he said. “We have three keepers who are ready to take her [Gomez’s] spot, but it’s not easy to replace her. The culture she has brought to the team, and her leadership, will be hard to replace. Cydney brings a lot of energy and never gives up.”

Gomez started her soccer career as a striker, but once she got into middle school, her coach encouraged her to play goalie.

“Turns out I was pretty good,” Gomez said.

Gomez had a 2.5 goals against average her senior year, and she credits playing in the Mid-Columbia Conference for making her a better player.

“I always stood out in the Oregon league,” Gomez said. “In the MCC, the competition is crazy different. I feel like I improved a bunch my junior and senior year.”

Lind said she received a little attention from Yakima Valley Community College, but she was set on CBC.

“They are more competitive, and I am excited about that,” Lind said of the Hawks. “They want me to play the wing position. That takes a lot of speed and endurance, which I have. I need to work on my ball control. I have played everywhere but goalie, and do what I can to be the best at that spot.”

Lind was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs, starting as a defender and moving around the field as needed.

“I am a pretty universal player, and very coachable,” Lind said.

With CBC just a 45-minute drive, Gomez and Lind are excited that family and friends can come see them play.

“My mom (Amy) will enjoy that,” Gomez said. “And we want to come down and watch our (Hermiston) girls play.”

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