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Surging U-Hi home at SFCC

Jack Gularte (10) and Mt. Spokane are at Hanford while top-seeded Shadle Park and Tokoda Daubel face Sunnyside at Spokane Falls CC in regional 3A action tonight. (Colin Mulvany)
Jack Gularte (10) and Mt. Spokane are at Hanford while top-seeded Shadle Park and Tokoda Daubel face Sunnyside at Spokane Falls CC in regional 3A action tonight. (Colin Mulvany)

Suddenly, it’s been smooth going for the University High School boys’ soccer team.

The Titans won twice last week in District 8 matches on the smooth artificial turf at Spokane Falls Community College; the reward is a 3A Regional match on the same field tonight against Kamiakin of Kennewick.

“I think we’re a better team on turf,” said U-Hi coach Scott Kerwien, who had the option of playing on the school’s grass surface but said that “when the guys get on the turf they’re more confident they can pass the ball and keep possession.”

Tonight’s match starts at about 7, following another 3A Regional between top-seeded Shadle Park and Sunnyside at 5.

The third-seeded Titans are 6-8 overall, but have won three of their last four, including a 3-1 victory over Mead in the regular-season finale and a 6-0 rout of North Central last week. But they’re home because of a 2-0 win Friday over Mt. Spokane, which had drubbed U-Hi 4-0 just before spring break.

“I think that win was quite emotional,” Kerwien said, referencing the earlier loss. “All the guys left that very upset, and some guys even said it was embarrassing.”

Everyone is contributing, but leading scorer Trevor Martin scored five on NC. Three days later, Kyle Bender scored on a header from Chris Donich early in the second half, and Marcelo Morales put the Wildcats away after a nice dribble.

Goalkeeper Quinn Howe and the defenders in front have him have been a big factor too: the Titans have conceded just two goals in the last four matches.

“We’re confident we can win this game,” said Kerwien, whose team beat Kamiakin in preseason.

In other 3A matches tonight, fifth-seeded Mt. Spokane is at No. 4 Hanford and seventh-seeded NC is at No. 2 Kennewick.

The teams will be re-seeded after tonight’s matches and play again on Thursday, with sites to be determined by seeding. As the top seed, Shadle Park is guaranteed to play at home again should it beat Sunnyside.

4A: Of all the Greater Spokane League teams playing tonight, only Ferris can afford to lose and keep playing.

The second-seeded Saxons (11-4), who won the GSL and District titles, play at 6 at top seed Richland. A win sends them directly to state, but a loss would mean a loser-out, winner-to-state match on Saturday against either Lewis and Clark or Walla Walla.

LC is doing it the hard way: the Tigers barely made it to District, but won three matches last week, including 2-1 Friday over 2012 state semifinalist Central Valley.

Next up is a trip to Whitman College, where LC (13-5) faces Walla Walla (7-12) in another loser-out contest.

“Obviously, I would have preferred to be in the double-elimination,” said LC coach Mica Lamb, whose team has won six straight. “But the players realize that it’s do-or-die time – it really has been the motivation our team needed.”

2A: Cheney will host East Valley today at 4 p.m. for the District 7 title. Both teams will advance to Regional crossover matches on Saturday against teams from Districts 5 and 6, but the winner will host while the loser must travel.

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