You have to hand it Matt Beaulaurier.
That’s just what Ferris did Tuesday night in a 3-0 win over Chiawana that puts the Saxons a win away from the State 4A soccer tournament.
And with the ball in his hands, Beaulaurier made it count: all three Ferris goals were the result of his long throws into the Chiawana goalmouth.
“It’s a gift, and I’m lucky to have it, but it’s useless without my teammates,” said Beaulaurier, a senior defender who also plays for the Spokane Shadow and is bound for St. Martin’s this fall.
After two near-misses, Ferris forward Matt Belles headed home one of those gifts in the 12th minute, and did the same to notch the third Ferris goal, in the 64th minute.
“Matt really threw it well and I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Belles said.
In between, Conor Ourada pounced on a rebound off another throw-in in the 48th minute as the Saxons advanced to a regional showdown Saturday at Pasco, which lost 1-0 at Central Valley on Tuesday.
Ferris coach Robin Crain appreciated the big throws almost as much as the Saxons’ ability to possess the ball in close quarters.
“I liked the way we knocked the ball around and put them back on their heels,” said Crain, whose team got off 17 shots in a game that was even more one-sided than the score.
Ferris (14-2) dominated from the outset, but missed several shots before Belles scored. Chiawana (10-8), the second-seeded 4A team from the Mid-Columbia Conference, was almost in siege mode for the entire first half.
The Saxons seemed a step quicker throughout, and did a good job of connecting their passes in midfield.
At the other end, new Ferris goalkeeper Alex Pells admitted to some pre-game jitters, but ended up facing just eight shots and making five saves.
“I was pretty nervous, but I have a great back line – it’s really all on the defense,” said Pells, who made a point-blank save early in the second half off a Chiawana throw-in.