As upsets go, this was one for the Greater Spokane League record books.
Going into Wednesday’s boys soccer match against Central Valley, no one could recall the Rogers Pirates ever beating the Bears.
The streak ended in remarkable fashion on the Rogers field, thanks to a little luck, some hard-nosed defense and finally a few heroics in the penalty-kick shootout.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Rogers coach Valentin Dimitrov said of the Pirates’ 2-1 win over the GSL’s most successful program.
The win lifted Rogers to 4-7 overall and 2-4 in the GSL. A day later, the Pirates were lifting up a group dinner of Subway sandwiches – a gift from a grateful coach.
“I’m pretty sure we’ve never beaten them,” said Dimitrov, now in his 13th year at Rogers.
The Pirates have been competitive in recent years, going 7-11 and within one win of the State 3A tournament two years ago.
Last season, Rogers was 5-9 – not bad, except in comparison to CV: The Bears have reached the 4A semifinals three years running.
“They’re the better team, but I think they underestimated us,” said Dimitrov, whose team was outshot 23-9 on Wednesday.
Despite the shot disparity, the match was still scoreless at halftime.
“I think that frustrated them a little bit,” Dimitrov said.
In the second half, CV missed a penalty kick, then struck the crossbar on a free kick in the 56th minute. The ball wound up at the feet of CV’s Devin Hauenstein, who put the Bears up 1-0.
But not for long. Two minutes later, Rogers equalized and got to overtime thanks partly to nine saves by goalkeeper Daunte DeMarce.
CV (4-4) appeared to win the match on penalty kick in overtime, but the Bears were called for a foul.
In the shootout, DeMarce made two more saves that Dimitrov called “unbelievable.” The Pirates made five of six shots while CV made four.
Softball, too: Aly Slawter went 4 for 4 with two RBIs on two doubles and the visiting Pirates (6-4, 5-4) defeated University (7-4, 7-2) for the first time in over a decade, 9-7 in extra innings on Wednesday. Rogers erupted for four runs in the top of the ninth and held off U-Hi’s rally in the bottom half. Macey Finch went 2 for 5 with an RBI and went the distance in the circle for Rogers.