It’s two for the road.
Cheney won dramatically, while Ferris won emphatically in the first round of the state boys’ soccer playoffs Wednesday.
Now the last two Spokane-area teams still standing will take their acts on the road after a memorable pair of matches.
Cheney defeated West Valley of Yakima 2-1 on a goal in the final minute to advance within a game of its fifth Final Four appearance in the 2A tournament. The Blackhawks travel to Grandview on Saturday.
Ferris got a second straight hat trick from striker Clayton Paull – who was bedridden with the flu two days earlier – to overpower Mt. Rainier 4-2 at Spokane Falls Community College. The Saxons earned a trip to Union of Vancouver for a 4A quarterfinal on Saturday.
Ferris 4, Mt. Rainier 2: “I feel better now,” deadpanned Paull, who could barely practice Tuesday.
Paull opened the scoring in the 24th minute, taking a pass from Miklas Repsold, then shaking a defender with an inside move while still 30 yards from goal. He then fired past Rams goalkeeper Chaise Casias.
Mt. Rainier equalized four minutes after halftime, but Ferris junior forward Matt Beaulaurier answered a minute later. Beaulaurier dribbled down the left side, then evaded two defenders along the goal line and fired a perfect cross to Repsold to make it 2-1.
Seven minutes later, Beaulaurier took a nice pass from Terry Cox on the left side of the penalty area and headed it perfectly to Paull, who directed it in for the eventual match-winner.
“Honestly I just a got a great cross in from Terry,” Beaulaurier said. “I saw Clayton and just headed it to him.”
Mt. Rainier narrowed the lead to 3-2 in the 60th minute, but Ferris answered two minutes later when Paul and Repsold led a break after a turnover. Paull sent a strong shot past Casias to restore the two-goal lead.
Cheney 2, West Valley-Yakima 1: After giving up a tying goal late in the match, the Blackhawks needed a little Galm in the storm.
That would be sophomore defender Cruz Galm, who found the ball at his feet at the top of the box following a Cheney corner kick and a couple of deflections.
“I was thinking we didn’t have much time,” said Galm. “I always stay up there at the top, and it deflected off and came to my side.”
After one brief touch, Galm calmly right-footed the ball into the net, and seconds later the Blackhawks and about 200 fans celebrated a win that probably shouldn’t have come down to the final moments.
Playing on their home field, the Blackhawks (17-2) dominated possession against a Rams team that stayed in a defensive shell – even after Cheney forward Treven Estrellado took a pass from Daniel Bogarth and headed the ball into the West Valley net in the 16th minute.
Cheney had several chances throughout the match, but couldn’t get an insurance goal.
“We had a plan, but they stayed true to what they were doing,” Cheney coach Mark Kiver said. “They kind of frustrated us.”
With five minutes to play, West Valley scored a goal off a free kick, setting up the last-minute drama.
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