With penalty kicks looming, the Ferris players had every reason to feel a bit nervous Tuesday night.
The Saxons had given up an equalizing goal with 16 seconds left in the District 4A title match against Central Valley – the same team that beat them on their own field in a shootout two weeks ago.
But this time Ferris had the steadier nerves on a chilly night at Spokane Falls Community College; making all five shots to claim a 2-1 win and a berth in next week’s Regionals.
Central Valley faces a loser-out, winner-to-regionals match Friday against Lewis & Clark, which eliminated Gonzaga Prep 1-0 earlier on Tuesday.
“Last time we choked,” said Ferris goalkeeper Beau Lockmer, whose block of Brian Choate’s penalty kick proved to be the difference in a match that had much more at stake.
Lockmer also saved 10 shots, but got plenty of help from the Saxon defenders against the focal point of the CV attack: striker Robert Kissinger-Smith.
“What we did is to block off his run every time,” said senior defender Cedar Kelly, who also converted a penalty kick. “He’s fast, but if he can’t get to the ball before we can, then we can block him all and block off the angles of his shots when he gets them.
“And that was enough.”
Well, almost. After a scoreless first half, the Saxons broke through in the 56th minute. After Logan Parr was fouled at the top of the box, Conor Ourada’ free kick was punched away by CV keeper Aidan Dowling, but Ferris forward Terry Cox headed the ball back over Dowling and into the net.
But just as regulation play was winding down, the Bears’ Miguel Naves volleyed a cross into the Ferris net – the first goal the Saxons had conceded this year in the run of play against a 4A opponent.
Lewis & Clark 1, Gonzaga Prep 0: Before the match, coach Mica Lamb told his players that in the playoffs, it’s “sometimes more about will than skill.”
A day earlier, the Tigers (12-5) outlasted Mead 2-1 in a tie-breaker match for the fourth and final spot in District, while G-Prep entered the match on four days’ rest.
“We were tired, there’s no doubt about that,” Lamb said. “I told them they have tomorrow off.”
Three minutes into the second half, Tyrus LaRocca’s corner kick, sneaked past a G-Prep defender. LC forward Connor Gu found the handle first and tapped the ball past goalkeeper Tony Betz.
“I was anticipating the cross, but I didn’t expect it to be so far away from me,” Gu said. “The defender in front of me missed. It went through him and so I just hit it.”