It was five years ago, when she was in her second season as an assistant girls soccer coach at Lakeside High School in Nine Mile Falls, that Brooke Greer first took notice of the names Katie Baran and Kasey Ruboski.
“We got a heads-up call from one of the middle-school coaches saying there were a couple of girls on his team that were pretty special,” said Greer, who is now in her first year as the Eagles’ head coach. “And he was right.”
Since then, Baran and Ruboski have developed their soccer skills to the point where both have received and accepted scholarship offers from NCAA Division I college programs.
Baran, who has played midfielder, forward and even did a short stint in goal for the Eagles, has orally agreed to play for the University of Idaho next fall. Ruboski, an offensive-minded defender, plans to sign a national letter of intent with Gonzaga University.
“They have both been huge assets to our team through the years,” Greer said of two senior standouts, adding that it is extremely rare for a 1A school like Lakeside to have two Division I-caliber players on its team at the same time, “not only because of their skills, but because of their personalities, as well.
“They both bring great attitudes to the game and really know how to help and encourage their teammates. It’s almost like having a second and third coach out on the field.”
Baran leads the Eagles (10-4-0, 7-0-0 Northeast A League) in scoring with 11 goals and three assists – two of which came in Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Colville.
“She’s just very poised with the ball – very calm, and a great distributor who sees the field,” Greer said of Baran. “She’s very physical, even though she’s not very big, and very aggressive. Any time she loses the ball, she’s right back on top pressuring the person who got it. And she always seems to make the shots that really count.
Ruboski, who scored twice in the win over the Indians, has eight goals and three assists, and has handled most of the Eagles’ corner- and free-kick opportunities.
“She’s very much an offensive threat, as well as a sound defender,” Greer said of Ruboski. “During the game, she’ll push up and pitch in to give us numbers up front. She frees herself up on defense to make those plays up there, and in the back she is a really big communicator who directs our defense.”
The girls first met in the second grade and have played on the same school and Spokane Shadow club teams since the sixth grade.
“It seems like we’ve been together forever, which is going to make things way weird next fall when we become rivals,” Baran said.
Ruboski decided on Gonzaga after taking what she described as a dream recruiting visit.
“Their players were just awesome, and I really liked their coach (Amy Edwards),” she said. “Everyone was so welcoming on my visit. I can’t wait to get back there and start playing with them.”
Baran’s recruiting process was much more drawn out.
“Because I’m super picky,” she said. “I’ve always dreamed of playing for a D-I school, but I didn’t want to go to some big university like Washington or Washington State or some real little school. Idaho seemed to offer a happy medium, and I really liked the coach (Peter Showler).
“It just seemed like the perfect fit.”
Before Baran and Ruboski take their soccer careers to the next level, there is still some business to tend to at Lakeside. The Eagles are in first place in the league, a game ahead of Newport (13-2, 6-1), a team they defeated 2-0 earlier in the year.
Those same teams meet again this afternoon in Newport to determine the regular-season title. The top four teams in the five-team league will compete in the district playoffs at sites still to be determined. The State 1A championship will be decided Nov. 19-20 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Wash.
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