Ferris midfielder James Matern ripped a free kick from the top of the 18-yard box into the upper-right corner of the goal 2 minutes into the second overtime and capped a marathon four hours of soccer with the Saxons’ 3-2 win over University in a doubleheader Wednesday at Joe Albi Stadium.
The Saxons’ win came on the heels of East Valley’s 2-1 shootout triumph over North Central in the Greater Spokane League bill. Ferris and U-Hi were tied for fourth place and jockeying for 4A playoff position. EV’s Knights and NC’s Indians are vying for top 3A seed and a bye in May’s regional playoffs.
But as taut as the 4 p.m. opener was, decided by penalty-kick proficiency, nothing could top the thrills and antics of the nightcap. The first half was a high-octane race to see which team could get off the most shots.
Things settled down in the second half and Ian Hartfield put Ferris ahead 2-1 at the 56th minute when a pass aimed for Isaac Peter deflected to Hartfield wide open on the backside.
Then it got crazy. Yellow cards were issued to both goalkeepers, the first to U-Hi’s Cojo Smith at 73 minutes for catching the ball out of the box. Later Nick Stebbins was called for delay of game, a penalty disputed by the Saxons’ coaches that produced a red card.
Evan Frobe lasered a grounder off an indirect touch through the wall and into the net at the 80th minute of regulation. But what went around came around. The Titans were penalized in overtime for tripping and Matern’s aim was true.
“I wanted that corner just around the wall,” he said.
“Both teams played really hard,” Saxons coach Robin Crain said. “U-Hi ran like crazy and we ran like crazy – just really good play by both teams.”
The Titans (7-3, 4-3 GSL, 12 points) drew first blood when Frobe won the ball in a battle with Stebbins at 12 minutes and rolled it between two chasing defenders. The Saxons (6-3, 5-3, 15) tied when Peter juked Aaron Gleason and his shot got through Smith’s hands and between his legs.
“Who knows?” Crain said about the second-half calls. “Karma.”
“Maybe a couple of questionable calls,” Matern said. “It all works out in the end. We’ll take it.”
In the opener, EV (3-6, 3-4, eight points) converted all four penalty kicks, while keeper Mason Smith blocked two attempts by NC (7-5, 4-3, 13).
“Really, I don’t like the whole guess thing, even though it’s a downfall not to have the jump,” Smith said of his ability to react in his first varsity shootout. “It’s more about waiting.”
NC led 1-0 when Brad Pelton corralled a shot that bounced off Smith and took it into the net just before halftime. Midway through the second half, Andrew Mastronardi tied the match following a collision with Indians keeper Garrett Brickey for the ball out front.
“It was a really big win for us,” first-year coach Jeff Paulus said.
Three games remain and the schedule favors the Knights, even though they trail NC by a point.
•In other GSL matches: Mead (7-1, 7-1, 21) moved into a first-place tie with idle unbeaten Lewis and Clark. The Panthers won at home 4-1 over Shadle Park (2-8, 1-7, 3), led by Zach Hamer. … Central Valley (8-1, 6-1, 17) remained third with a 2-0 shutout over visiting Rogers (1-10, 1-7, 3). Holden Newberg scored and had an assist, both goals coming off crosses. … Gonzaga Prep (4-6, 1-6, 4) blanked Mt. Spokane (2-7, 1-6, 3) on goals by Sam Magnuson and Shane Schmidlkofer.