There was excitement and controversy during Wednesday’s Albi Stadium Greater Spokane League doubleheader.
East Valley won a shootout 2-1 over North Central and with two wins would overhaul the Indians for the top 3A regional seed. The Knights goal in regulation came during a bone-jarring collision between scorer Andrew Mastronardi and NC keeper Garrett Brickey who declared he suffered whiplash while securing the ball.
Ferris beat University 3-2 in a contest that had more than its share of contrversy and secured undisputed fourth place. My story is below.
Ferris midfielder James Matern ripped a free kick from the top of the 18 yard box into the upper right corner of the goal two minutes into the second overtime and capped a marathon four hours of soccer in a doubleheader Wednesday at Joe Albi Stadium.
The Saxons’ 3-2 defeat of University came on the heels of
Ferris and U-Hi were tied for fourth place and jockeying for 4A playoff position. The Knights and Indians are vying for top 3A seed and a bye in May’s regional playoffs.
But as taut as the 4 p.m. opener was, decided by penalty kick proficiency, nothing could top the thrills and antics of the nightcap. The first half was a high octane race to see which team could get off the most shots.
Things settled down in the second half and Ian Hartfield put Ferris ahead 2-1 at the 56th minute when a pass aimed for Isaac Peter deflected to Hartfield wied open on the backside.
Then it got crazy. Yellow cards were issued to both goal keepers, the first to Titan Cojo Smith at 73 minutes for catching the ball out of the box. Later Nick Stebbins was called for delay of game, a penalty disputed by the Saxon coaches that produced a red-card.
Evan Frobe lasered a grounder off an indirect touch through the wall and into the net at the 80th minute of regulation. But what went around came around. The Titans were penalized in overtime for tripping and Matern’s aim was true.
“I wanted that corner just around the wall,” he said, matter-of-factly.
“Both teams played really hard,” said Saxons coach Robin Crain. “U-Hi ran like crazy and we ran like crazy, just really good play by both teams.”
The Titans (7-3 overall, 4-3 in the GSL for 12 points) drew first blood when Evan Frobe won the ball in a battle with Stebbins at 12 minutes and rolled it between two futilely chasing defenders. The Saxons (6-3, 5-3, 15) tied when perpetual motion forward Peter juked Aaron Gleason and his shot got through Smith’s hands and between his legs.
About the calls in the second half? “Who knows,” said Crain. “Karma.”
“Maybe a couple of questionable calls,” said Matern. “It all works out in the end. We’ll take it.”
In the opener, EV (3-6, 3-4, 8) converted all four penalty kicks, while keeper Mason Smith blocked two attempts by NC (7-5, 4-3, 13).
“Really, I don’t like the whole guess thing,” said Smith of his ability to react in his first varsity shootout, “even though it’s a downfall not to have the jump. It’s more about waiting.”
NC had led 1-0 when Brad Pelton corralled a shot that bounced off Smith and took it into the net just before halftime. Midway through the second half, Andrew Mastronardi tied the match following a collision with Indians keeper Garrett Brickey for the ball out front.
“It was a really big win for us,” said first-year coach Jeff Paulus.”
Three games remain and the schedule favors the Knights, even though they trail NC by a point.
In other GSL matches: Mead (7-1, 21) moved into a first-place tie with idle unbeaten Lewis and Clark. The Panthers won at home 4-1 over