It’s still crowded at the top of the Greater Spokane League soccer standings, but Jake Wagner and the Ferris Saxons have pushed their way into the District 8 4A title game.
Wagner scored twice Wednesday afternoon, including the eventual match-winner, during a 4-1 win at Shadle Park that keeps the Saxons two points ahead of Central Valley with one match left in the regular season.
Ferris got some help later Wednesday night when Mead fell 3-1 to University, which means the Saxons will play in the title game on Tuesday at Spokane Falls Community College. The Saxons are assured at least second place. The other playoff spots are still up for grabs among Central Valley, Mead, Gonzaga Prep and Lewis and Clark.
Shadle Park, which fell to 4-4 in the GSL, still owns a one-point lead over Mt. Spokane and University in the 3A race, but needs a win Friday against LC or a loss by one of its rivals to earn a spot in the District 8 3A title game Wednesday.
Ferris trailed 1-0 midway through the first half when Wagner, a smallish senior midfielder, took on burly Highlander goalkeeper Kenji Booey as teammate Matt Beaulaurier unleased a long throw-in.
Wagner and Booey collided in front of the goal, and when Booey lost the handle, Wagner tapped the ball into the net. Seconds later, Booey retaliated with a shove and picked up a yellow card.
“It’s my job to get in there and get the ball,” Wagner said. “The keeper and I were going for it, and I shoved him.”
Wagner struck again with 16 minutes left in the match on another long throw by Beaulaurier, heading the ball into the net from 5 yards out.
The linesman signaled offsides on Wagner, but there is no offsides on throw-ins. The head official questioned the linesman, reversed the decision, and Ferris had the lead for good.
“That one was for the league championship,” Wagner said.
Ferris (6-2 in GSL play) had another goal disallowed earlier in the match, but the Saxons added two more goals in the last 14 minutes, including one by Beaulaurier in the waning moments of the match.
The Saxons dominated possession for much of the game, but fell behind 1-0 on when Shadle’s Austin Hiner tapped in a cross from Chris Pieroni in the 22nd minute.
Ferris outshot Shadle Park 10-8.