Even when the goals were hard to come by, Mt. Spokane made it look easy Wednesday night.
Facing a packed-in Shadle Park defense, the Wildcats finally broke through late in the first half on the way to a 3-0 win in the District 8 3A title game at Albi Stadium.
The reward – on top of the Greater Spokane League title they earned last week – is a well-deserved week off. Next up is the opening round of regionals Tuesday at Spokane Falls Community College against Kamiakin or Southridge.
“It’ll be nice to get this bye – we have a few bumps and bruises from this game,” Mt. Spokane coach Ryan Campanella said.
The Wildcats (12-2) outshot Shadle 20-2 and missed several chances in a physical game before forward Jerry Havens took a pass from Brady Moore and fired from 15 yards from the right side.
“I knew I had a line to the far post, so I just wanted to keep it low,” said Havens, who added another goal in the 53rd minute.
Daniel Conrad capped the win 11 minutes later after taking a pass from Alec Vang.
“It’s always tough when they pack the back like that, but we worked the ball around them,” said Havens, one of 12 seniors who feels that he’s poised for a run like the Wildcats enjoyed two years ago.
That team reached the 3A quarterfinals. One common denominator is goalkeeper Robert Powles, who said this year’s team is “definitely a lot more unified, and everybody knows how to play together.”
Powles, a four-year starter, is only one reason the Wildcats have conceded just four goals in their last 10 games. Solid defense has sparked an up-tempo transition game that Havens said still has room for improvement.
“We just have to move a little faster and stay ahead of the other guys,” Havens said.
They did just that last week, routing Lewis and Clark 5-0 in the final game of the regular season to claim the school’s first outright GSL title, which Campanella said “means so much to the program, with a lot of these guys being in the program for three or four years.”
North Central 2, University 0: In the early game at Albi, the Indians (3-8) broke a scoreless tie in the second half when Dominic Deatherage scored off of an assist by Sam Gibson in the 55th minute.
Drew Williams all but sealed the game in the 67th minute with a free kick that skidded into the box and bounced untouched into the right side of U-Hi’s net.
U-Hi (4-10) earned a penalty kick in the opening minutes, but NC goalkeeper Kiernan McKinley made a diving save to his right to deny Tyler Kemp.
The win avenged a 4-1 loss on the opening day of GSL play on March 26.
Both teams advance to regional play. North Central plays Shadle Park at SFCC at 2:30 p.m. Friday. U-Hi plays either Southridge or Hanford in the Tri-Cities on Tuesday.