The Mt. Spokane boys soccer team enjoyed a few senior moments Wednesday afternoon, but only the best kind.
From Jack Gularte’s early breakaway goal to Jack Zielinski’s 60-yard free kick that somehow found the net, the host Wildcats found plenty to celebrate in a 2-0 Greater Spokane League win that was even more sublime because it came over arch-rival Mead.
Even better, the win improved the Wildcats’ GSL record to 3-0 – just one win shy of what it took them a season to accomplish last year.
The roster is almost the same, but “they’re a little older, a little wiser,” said coach Ryan Campanella, whose club is 5-1 overall and tied for first place in the GSL with Ferris and Lewis and Clark.
“We’ve never had this much experience,” said Campanella, who has 13 seniors this year. “A lot of these kids have been on varsity since their freshman year, so this is a nice culmination.”
Much like the culmination of a 15th-minute counterattack by the Wildcats, which saw defender Joe Wilkes right-foot a perfect ball over the Mead defense and into the path of Gularte.
“I just chipped it through and he did his work,” said Wilkes, who scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over University on Friday.
Thirteen minutes later, lightning struck on a blustery day in north Spokane. With the wind at his back and standing 10 yards on the Wildcat side of midfield, Zielinski was told by an assistant coach to “put the ball on frame.”
He did just that, lofting the ball over the penalty area and just beyond the reach of Mead freshman goalkeeper Brady Sohn.
Still leading 2-0 early in the second half, Gularte almost scored again, but pushed the ball just wide of the Mead net.
With the wind at its back, Mead (2-1 GSL, 2-3 overall) had several decent chances but forced Mt. Spokane keeper Robert Powles to make only two saves.
“It’s been a lot of hard work by everybody,” said Gularte, who’s seen plenty of ups and downs in the last two-plus seasons: the State 3A quarterfinal run in 2012, the 4-5 GSL mark of a year ago, and now a chance to go out in style.
For now, though, the Wildcats are living in the moment.
Said Zielinski, “Some of us have been playing together for maybe 10 years, so it’s nice to be out here with everyone.”