Both teams had scoring chances, but opportunistic Mead made the most of its to repeat as District 8 4A soccer champion.
The Panthers defeated Lewis and Clark 3-0 Thursday evening at Albi Stadium. Both teams move on to regional play Saturday, and host Pasco and Richland, respectively.
Mead is tentatively scheduled to play the Columbia Basin Big Nine fourth-seeded Bulldogs at noon at Albi for a State 4A berth. LC is scheduled to play at Hart Field against the No. 3 Bombers.
In the other match at Albi, University earned the league’s third seed to regional, beating Central Valley 4-0, and will play at Southridge.
“Games like this have such a small margin of error,” coach Steve Snider said of Mead’s victory. “I really love how our girls moved the ball tonight and how active they were.”
Morgan Fryman set up Mead’s first goal with a run up the left side of the Albi turf. She sent a cross into the middle that was touched by Mikayla Anderson to Dani Eldredge, who scored from the right side of the goal at the 26-minute mark.
In the second half, Mead scored a fortuitous goal at 66 minutes on a shot by Jami Hegg from 35 yards out. While not stroked particularly hard, it somehow dribbled through the hands of LC keeper Sarah Wood.
Anderson added the final score with 3 minutes remaining. Snider called it reward for the hustle she displayed keeping the ball out of harm’s way.
“Both our forwards did a great job of relieving pressure that, as we played the ball out, gained some territory for us,” he said.
LC didn’t dent the goal even though the Tigers controlled play for the first 10 minutes of each half.
Two minutes into the match a shot by Madisen Stewart to the far post, struck where the crossbar and post intersect and ricocheted out of the goal.
Early in the second half, the Tigers had several header attempts they couldn’t finish. At the 47-minute mark Bev Amstadter’s shot hit off the crossbar. Later, LC got behind the defense, but keeper Olivia Johnstone smothered an attempt.
“We just couldn’t find the net and they took advantage of the chances we gave them,” LC coach Casey Curtis said. “I thought both teams handled the ball well and both created looks.”
Mead, content for a time to sit back and protect a one-goal lead, went back on the attack and added two scores.
“We’ve gotten cleaner and are starting to finish more things,” Snider said. “We’re finding those scrappy goals we weren’t necessarily finding early in the year. I think that’s huge, because in (playoff) games, goals are not always pretty.”
•Kayla Imes scored the U-Hi Titans’ first two goals. In the first half, she got behind the defense and converted over the keeper’s head. In the second half, she put back a deflected shot off CV’s goalkeeper.
Jessica Porterfield had her first multigoal game and Mt. Spokane (14-1) qualified for its second State 3A tournament by breaking a scoreless halftime tie for a 3-0 triumph over visiting Hanford.
The Wildcats host West Valley-Yakima at 1 p.m. Saturday in the first round of the state tournament and for the regional championship.
WV-Yakima eliminated North Central 5-0 to advance.
Porterfield, a junior, scored right after intermission on an assist from Carrisa Yedica and added the final goal 14 minutes later from M’Liss Powles.
It was the Wildcats’ seventh straight win and eighth shutout behind keeper Katie Emery, who has allowed but four goals all season.
•In Yakima, NC’s Indians trailed 1-0 three-quarters of the way through the match, on a penalty kick. The Rams scored four times in the final 20 minutes to end NC’s year.