With no chance to defend their soggy home fields, the Lewis and Clark and Mead boys soccer teams did the next best thing Friday night.
LC opened a Greater Spokane League doubleheader with a 2-0 win over University, and Mead held off Central Valley 3-2 in the nightcap at chilly Albi Stadium.
Mead 3, Central Valley 2: As the Panthers’ three-goal halftime lead was cut to one late in the game, Panthers coach Kevin Houston “was just trying to get his team to play with the same aggressiveness that we showed in the first half.”
In the end, the Panthers had just enough to defeat the Bears in a game that matched the two preseason favorites in the GSL.
That aggressiveness paid off in the first half, especially for senior forward Jared Fretheim, who scored all three Panthers goals against the Bears’ flat-four defense.
The first came just 3 minutes into the match, when midfielder Corey Taisey’s long pass down the right sideline found Nolan Eldredge, who crossed to Fretheim.
“That was a great pass by Nolan, and I just somehow put it in,” said Fretheim, a senior forward.
Fretheim fashioned the second one himself, stealing the ball at the top of the penalty box and driving the ball past CV keeper Alex Yoseph in the 26th minute.
Five minutes later, the Panthers’ Jake Gilbertson made the best through pass of the night, finding Fretheim in stride for what would become the winner.
“Coming into the game, we knew we needed to make diagonal runs, not just one, but several,” Fretheim said.
“We knew we could get behind them.”
Central Valley was barely off-target on three shots early in the second half, but finally got on the board on Isaiah Van Voorhis’ blast with 15 minutes to play.
Alec Bumgarer connected on a long shot with 2 minutes left, but the Panthers were able to hold on.
Lewis and Clark 2, University 0: The Tigers led just 1-0 and were looking for some breathing room with 20 minutes left in the game.
So was LC sophomore Connor Gu as he took a pass at the top of the box from teammate Cory Ames.
“I got the ball in front of me and I knew the defense was behind me,” Gu said. “I wasn’t sure whether to turn left or right, but I saw there was space to my right, so I just turn and hit on the outside of my foot.”
The ball sailed past U-Hi keeper Quinn Howe, and the Tigers were on their way.
The Tigers controlled the game for most of the first half, but weren’t rewarded until just before the halftime whistle. Midfielder Stan Dombrowski took the ball wide to the right, sent the ball to the back left post, where Ames stuck it behind the defense.
The Tigers outshot U-Hi 11-7, and keeper Cody Lang was seldom tested, though he had to make a diving save at the feet of Titans forward Javier Aicenena late in the game.
Fresh legs played a big part too, LC coach Micah Lamb said.
“We rotate a lot of guys and in out, and our subs were awesome today,” Lamb said. “We’ve played well in some nonleague games, but this was our best so far.”