If March came in like a lion, it’s going out like a Tiger.
The snow of two weeks ago was a distant memory on a balmy Wednesday afternoon at Albi Stadium, which saw Lewis and Clark knock off Greater Spokane League preseason favorite Central Valley 2-1 in the league soccer opener for both teams.
Even in March, “we knew that this was going to be a huge game,” said Tigers coach Mica Lamb, whose team made the most of its opportunities in the second half.
After a scoreless first half that saw LC with a slight edge in possession, the Tigers took the lead in the 43rd minute when senior forward Trevor Briggs took a pass from brother Kyle, found an opening from 15 yards out, and fired into the left corner of the CV net.
The Bears equalized 16 minutes later on Miguel Naves’ penalty kick after a foul on the left edge of the box. Naves’ struck the ball with authority into the right side of the box.
The tie lasted until the 65th minute, when LC capitalized on a throw-in. The ball was punched away by CV goalkeeper Andrew Enzler, but was met by Alex McNeil’s diving header from almost the same spot on the field where Briggs scored.
After the game, Lamb credited a demanding preseason schedule with calming any late-match jitters: All five of LC’s earlier matches were decided by one goal, including a 2-1 win over Moses Lake that saw the winning goal scored in the 75th minute.
“We’re used to this,” said Lamb, whose team outshot the Bears 9-4. LC keeper Jacob Williams was well-protected all afternoon and was forced to save just one shot.
The win also gave the Tigers a leg up in what figures to be a three-way race with CV and Ferris.
“We circled this one early on – this was the one we really wanted,” said Lamb, who was rushing out of Albi on his way to scout Gonzaga Prep’s match at Ferris played later Wednesday.
LC faces G-Prep Friday.
The match drew only about three dozen fans despite temperatures in the mid-50s. In the past two years, GSL openers at Albi were played on frozen fields.