For Ferris midfielder Matt LaPlante, Friday afternoon’s 1-0 boys soccer win over Greater Spokane League rival Mead was sweet beyond description – almost.
“That was a huge game for us,” the Saxons’ senior leader said after setting up teammate Isaac Peter at the 53-minute mark for the game’s only goal. “The chills running through my body, the rush, I can’t even explain how good it feels.”
Which is understandable, considering the importance of the win.
Along with avenging an earlier 2-0 nonleague loss to the Panthers (7-2 overall, 6-1 in the GSL), the victory gave Ferris (11-2, 6-1) 18 points – one more than Mead, which earned one of its victories in a shootout – with only two games remaining in the regular season.
“It puts us in great position,” Saxons coach Robin Crain said. “I thought we executed really well today, especially defensively. We shut a lot of their dribblers down with some good tackles.
“It was a complete game for us. We had guys that were on defense all the way on attack, and then we had guys on attack that came all the way back and helped with defense.”
Peter’s goal, his 12th of the year, came on a nifty pass from LaPlante, who played the ball in the middle and managed to dump it between the last line of defenders and Panthers goalkeeper Curtis Hill.
“I saw Isaac forward running, and he’s so fast – I mean really fast,” LaPlante said. “So I tried to get it right behind the defense where Isaac could get it. It was a good ball, and he made a great, composed finish.”
Mead, which outshot Ferris 15-11, applied a lot of offensive pressure in the final five minutes, but could not get the ball past Saxons keeper Parker Stults, who finished with five saves.
Hill finished with nine saves for the Panthers, including several diving stops on shots from point-blank range.
“They put the ball on frame very well,” Mead coach Kevin Houston said of the Saxons, “but Curtis made some fantastic saves to keep us in it.
“Overall, I thought both teams played extremely well, moved the ball and created a lot of scoring opportunities on both ends. It was exciting.”