As far as soccer goes at Mt. Spokane High School, it can’t get much better than last year, when both the boys and girls teams reached the Elite Eight of the State 3A tournament.
“It was a phenomenal year,” said coach Ryan Campanella, who has a girls team that might just go a bit further this fall. The Wildcats are 6-0 in the Greater Spokane League, 11-0 overall entering a big home match Friday against Gonzaga Prep.
It says a lot about the program that last year’s Elite Eight team might be a stepping stone to greater things, but Campanella said that team gained some valuable experience while adding to his own rèsumé as one of the senior soccer coaches in the GSL – at the ripe age of 31.
“It’s been one heck of a ride,” Campanella said. “It’s funny with the all the turnover, but as I look around, I’ve seen a lot of coaches come and go.”
The Wildcats lost that quarterfinal at Eastside Catholic of Sammamish, but Campanella said the trip paid dividends in the returning players “Seeing that process going deep into the playoffs and seeing what it’s all about.”
Campanella has coached at Mt. Spokane since 2005, but said this team stood out even before the season began. “The leadership across the board is unparalleled,” Campanella said. “On the field, there’s a calm communication, never a situation where they’re barking orders at each other.”
That comes from the top, Campanella said, crediting senior captains Riley Richardson, Alyssa Lloyd and Kelsey Frank.
Last Thursday, the team volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in downtown Spokane. “We thought this would be a fun team thing to do and give back to the community,” said Frank, who serves on the Ronald McDonald Teen Board along with her sister, junior midfielder Carly Frank.
That speaks for itself, Campanella said, adding that no previous teams had “come together to do something like this. “This team is a notch above.”
On the field, that translates into a perfect record that includes a 3-1 win against Mead and a pair of non-league wins over Prep and Central Valley. “The Mead game was just great and the score showed that it wasn’t a fluke,” said Richardson, who leads the Wildcats with 10 goals.
“We are just really cohesive, and we all go out and play hard,” said Lloyd, a midfielder who has four goals and six assists. Campanella said that Lloyd and the other midfielders are dictating the flow of many matches.
The future looks bright. Sophomore forwards Madison Boyd and Whitney Weaver have combined for 15 goals and seven assists.