The East Valley soccer team is quite a collection of athletes. No, check that, they’re quite a collection that just happen to be athletes.
East Valley posted a 1-0 win Saturday against Eastmont at East Valley to advance to the second round of the State AA soccer playoffs.
The Knights (9-4-2) will face West Valley/Yakima on Saturday at a neutral site in Spokane. The site and time have yet to be determined.
West Valley/Yakima got two goals from senior sensation Donovan Welch, who moved his career goalscoring total to 93, and the Rams went on to beat Deer Park/Riverside 3-0 at Yakima. WV/Yakima is 19-1.
Along the way for EV though, there were many subplots, twists and turns that made for a interesting soap opera.
For the most part, the Knights controlled the ball from start to finish. But there was a 10-minute stretch late in the second half when it appeared as though EV might let the momentum slip away.
Balls that should have been kicked out of Eastmont’s end of the field weren’t cleared. And one East Valley player who was substituted in and out of the game didn’t hesitate to express his dissatisfaction to EV coach Jim Spencer for what he thought was sporadic playing time.
All of this took place with Eastmont furiously attacking the Knights.
“This team has a personality of its own,” Spencer said. “I don’t know if there is one word to describe this team. Sometimes we’re just one play away from losing.”
Spencer admitted there has been some adversity on the team over the course of the season. But he said some of it has made the squad more focused and dedicated than at any point during the season.
“I think sometimes they are a reflection of me,” he said. “I get real emotional on these sidelines.”
Fortunately for the Knights, their goalie Robbie Atwood, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Saturday, kept his cool and turned away 11 Eastmont shots - the most impressive being a save against Scott Kramer late in the game.
With the ball on a breakaway, Kramer rambled toward Atwood, who decided that he would take matters - and the ball - into his own hands.
Atwood charged and literally took the ball off Kramer’s foot before he could shoot. Kramer tumbled to the ground as Atwood took it away.
“You’ve just got to win the ball in that situation,” Atwood said. “If you have to take the man out then so be it.”
The Knights got their first goal at the 19-minute mark when Tory Swenson knocked in a header past Eastmont goalie David Czesak.
East Valley 1, Eastmont 0
SCORING: First half-1, East Valley, Swenson (Misterek, Burgess), 19:00. Second half-None.
Shots on goal-Eastmont 14, East Valley 15. Saves-Eastmont, Czesak 12. East Valley, Atwood 13.
W. Valley/Yak 3, DP/R 0
SCORING: First half - 1, W, Welch (Burke) 10:00. 2, Barkes, (unassisted), 23:00. Second half - 3, Welch (unassisted), time unavailable.
Shots on goal - Not available. Saves - Not available.
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.