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Mt. Spokane goalkeeper Shannon McReynolds slides to make a save with University’s Sarah Melvin on the attack. (Jesse Tinsley)

Mt. Spokane’s girls capture district soccer crown

While some folks were writing off the Mt. Spokane girls soccer team, the Wildcats decided to rewrite the script.

Now the story is getting better with every match. The latest is a 2-0 win over University in the District 8 3A title game on Wednesday night at Spokane Falls Community College.

“We were just tired of losing,” said captain Ashlee Pedersen, whose team had lost four of five matches earlier this month, including a 1-0 loss to U-Hi on Oct. 11.

Now the Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in the area, winning five straight.

“It was nice to settle the score,” said captain Dallas Flager, who along with Pedersen and the rest of the defense held off the Titans all night.

Forward Maddie Boyd scored both goals to give Mt. Spokane (10-4) the top seed in next week’s regionals, and with it a home game at Mt. Spokane on Tuesday against the fourth seed from the Mid-Columbia Conference.

University (8-5) will play at 5:30 p.m. Friday at SFCC for the second and third seeds against North Central, a 2-1 winner over Shadle Park in Wednesday’s early game. The winner will host a first-round regional game, also on Tuesday, while the loser must travel.

Wednesday’s game was intense – “it’s always physical against U-Hi,” Flager said – with few chances for either team in the first half.

Mt. Spokane goalkeeper Shannon McReynolds made a strong save in the 35th minute, but was tested again early in the second half when University had three shots on a breakaway.

Mt. Spokane struck a few minutes later, in the 49th minute. Megan Nilsson passed to Boyd, who slid the ball past U-Hi keeper Ryann Rydeen.

The Titans dominated possession late in the game but were called twice for offsides, the last one with 3 minutes to play.

Boyd clinched the game with a minute to play on a breakaway.

“We were motivated to win tonight,” Boyd said. “We just realized that we needed to work harder.”

The Wildcats lost several midfield players from last year’s state runner-up team.

“We were trying to do some of the same tricks we did last year with some new players,” coach Ryan Campanella said.

“It was a matter of putting the girls in the right places,” said Campanella, whose club lost two matches by shootout during its 1-4 slump in early October.

“We just looked forward, and told ourselves that was behind us,” Campanella said. “Our record at that time, that by no means told us who we were.”

North Central 2, Shadle Park 1: Jenna Jensen scored twice, including the winner in the 73rd minute, to lift the Indians to their second win of the year over the Highlanders.

With the scored tied and the clock ticking toward overtime, the sophomore forward shot from the top of the penalty box and past Shadle goalkeeper Mary Catherine Frantz.

Jensen opened the scoring on the sixth minute, taking the last pass of a breakaway, but Shadle equalized 10 minutes later on a goal by Cassie Berg off an assist from Mercedes Rathe.

Shadle nearly scored again 3 minutes later. A long shot hit the left post, and the ball sat alone for several seconds before a clearance by NC.

The Highlanders took 14 shots to seven to NC and forced Frantz to make seven saves.

Shadle Park (3-10) will play Tuesday at the home of the top seed from the Mid-Columbia Conference.