The Mt. Spokane soccer players were walking toward the parking lot at Spokane Falls Community College on Wednesday night when one of them shouted, “We’re halfway there, girls!”
She didn’t mean the bus, which was pulling up to meet them after the Wildcats turned away University 3-1 to win the District 8 3A title.
That’s the second piece of hardware earned in less than a week for the Wildcats, who took the Greater Spokane League title less than a week ago.
“Two more to go,” she said, meaning regionals and state. The Wildcats are 15-0 after a second straight close win over the Titans. Mt. Spokane clung to a 2-1 lead until the 71st minute, when Annie Shellerud stole the ball on the left sideline, raced toward goal and shot past U-Hi keeper Taylor Lang to seal the match.
Besides another trophy, the Wildcats’ reward is a week off until regionals next week, with the site and opponent to be determined.
U-Hi (9-5) will face Shadle Park on Friday to decide the second and third seeds to regionals.
“I don’t think we had any expectations going into the season, just hard work,” said senior defender Kelsey Frank, who along with Ashles Pedersen and Dallas Flager held up against an assault of long balls down the middle of a slippery turf.
“It definitely kept us on our toes,” Frank said.
Frank’s younger sister, Carly, scored the opening goal 5 minutes before halftime off a cross from Madi Boyd. The Wildcats made it 2-0 early in the second half when Danika Martin headed home a corner kick by Sydney Nelson, but U-Hi responded 7 minutes later on Rylee Rassier’s breakaway goal.
Both sides threatened in an entertaining, end-to-end match that became more physical in the second half.
“We’ve got quite a bit of history over the years,” Mt. Spokane coach Ryan Campanella said. “It was a pretty chippy game, but the girls knew what to expect.”
Shadle Park 2, North Central 1: Shaylen Hughes hit a looping shot over the goalkeeper in the 73rd minute to give the Highlanders a win that gives them a shot at staying home for the playoffs.
The Highlanders (4-9) fell behind in the 15th minute, when Jenna Jensen scored on a cross for. Shadle nearly equalized in the 34th minute, but NC’s Christa Boone saved a ball off the line. Three minutes later, Kalie Lopez equalized off a corner kick.
The Highlanders dominated the run of play in the second half, and were finally rewarded with Cassie Berg’s winning goal in the 71st minute.
North Central (3-10) is still alive, but must play the No. 1 seed from the Mid-Columbia Conference on Tuesday.