Rain, some of it unusually solid, was coming down as Central Valley closed out its practice session by talking penalty kicks.
The Bears were working to bounce back after losing their Greater Spokane League opener Wednesday at Joe Albi Stadium, falling 2-1 to Lewis and Clark.
“I’m disappointed to lose our opener,” coach Andres Monrroy shrugged. “But I told my players that I’m not mad. We hate to lose, but it was just our first game and it’s too bad that it had to be No. 1 versus No. 2 in the opener. I will definitely not be surprised to see them again later in the year.”
LC sandwiched a pair of goals around a CV penalty kick for the 2-1 win.
There’s a buzz around Central Valley soccer after the Lady Bears captured the state Class 4A title in the fall.
“Oh, it’s definitely got everyone excited,” Monrroy said. “Everyone was excited about winning a state title, and I think the guys are excited about doing the same thing. There was a lot of excitement about the boys team when we reached the Final Four and they want to get back and go a step further.”
That kind of excitement generally takes one of two forms: either “Anything you can do, we can do better!” or “Hey, if they can do it, we can do it!”
Monrroy insists it’s the latter.
“There’s a real brother-sister kind of feel to it,” he said. “The girls were out to watch us in our opener and the guys were big supporters of the girls team in the fall. They really do a good job supporting each other.”
Monrroy said this year’s team is “the youngest I’ve had at CV,” but he stops well short of calling it a rebuilding season.
Yes, he says, there are only a small handful of seniors on this year’s roster, but the young players coming in can compete at the GSL level.
Part of reason Monrroy has confidence is the way his Bears play.
Under Monrroy, the Bears play a speedy, fluid game.
“I don’t want to have forwards and defenders,” he said. “I want to have soccer players. We want players to be able to move to a different position if we need them to – when we work on defense EVERYONE plays defense. We’ve had years where our best scorers have been defenders. We want everyone to be able to attack.”
That style, he insists, allows the Bears to adapt to anything an opponent could throw at them.
“I think that’s what really helped us in the championship game in the fall,” he said. “We had trouble early in the championship game, but we were able to adapt and wound up winning the state title.”
Coach Scott Kerwien will rely on a talented group of freshmen to flesh out a squad that reached the second round of the state Class 3A playoffs a year ago.
The team already took a major jolt when three-year letterwinner Trevor Martin was lost to a season-ending injury. Martin had a dozen goals and three assists a year ago.
Senior Yannick Vincenti, an exchange student from Germany, figures to help fill that loss.
Jeff Paulus has a solid group back from last year’s 10-3 team.
Seniors Adam Bromly, Brad Bliesner, Jacob Rice and Nate Monohan should provide leadership for a deep squad.
Coach Gabe Escobar enters his fourth season at West Valley and the Eagles should continue their steady improvement.
First-team All-Great Northern selection Brandon Borg returns.
The Eagles already have league wins over East Valley and Clarkston after losing to Pullman in their season opener.