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Ferris boys riding strong finish

Saxons host Mt. Rainier in state soccer match today

The state tournament is just the place to finish strongly – something the Ferris boys’ soccer team has turned into a habit lately.

Last week the Saxons endured a road trip to Richland and a loser-out game at Albi Stadium, both played in searing heat that tested everyone’s resolve. Ferris lost 2-1 at Richland, then thrashed Walla Walla 4-1 to reach today’s first-round 4A tournament game against Mt. Rainier.

“All the kids played so hard,” Ferris coach Robin Crain said. “We did have some letdowns in both games, but at the end we were the stronger team, even at Richland.

“To play through those games, we had to have some mental toughness.”

For one more match at least, the Saxons (12-5) won’t have to worry about hot weather – though rain is a possibility – or a long bus ride. Even better, Crain said, “You know what you’re going to get with the refs – they really do a good job here in Spokane.”

The only uncertainty is the opponent. Mt. Rainier, located in Des Moines, just south of Seattle, is the sixth and last team to reach state from the District 3/4 Regional, losing two straight matches before defeating South Kitsap 4-0 last weekend. The Rams, who compete in the South Puget Sound League, are 11-3-4 overall.

Other than that, “we don’t know anything about them,” Crain said, noting that the SPSL doesn’t share team information with other leagues.

“We’re kind of going into it blind,” Crain said.

No matter what, this will be the Saxons’ last home match. If they win, their quarterfinal match would be at the home of the winner of today’s match between host Davis of Yakima and Union of Vancouver.

2A: Cheney is two wins away from a fifth trip in six years to the Final Four, where it lost in the title game last year to Fife. The Blackhawks are 16-2 with their only losses coming against 4A schools Mead and Lewis and Clark.

Today, Cheney is at home for a 4 p.m. match against West Valley (Yakima), the third-seeded team out of Districts 5/6. The Rams are 13-4-1 overall.

• Elmer Campuzano made six saves, including a penalty kick, as host Grandview (16-4), the top seed from Districts 5/6, eliminated East Valley 4-0.

The Knights ended their season at 12-5.

Grandview will have home field against Cheney or WV-Yakima in Saturday’s quarterfinals.