Experience made the difference on both ends of the field for the Lewis & Clark girls’ soccer team Wednesday afternoon.
The Tigers, with 11 returning starters, beat defending Greater Spokane League champion Mt. Spokane 1-0 thanks mostly to tough defense, but also by making the most of their opportunities.
The biggest one came in the 31st minute. While some of the Wildcats paused for a moment on a ball they thought was out of bounds, Tigers senior forward Chloe Williams found teammate Jessica Ellingsen with a through ball that split the defenders and put her one-on-one with goalkeeper Shannon McReynolds.
Two seconds later, Ellingsen left-footed the ball into the net for the only goal of the match. “Chloe’s assist was really good, and I’m just glad I made it,” said Ellingsen, a junior forward.
The loss was Mt. Spokane’s first in GSL play since October of 2011. Last year, the Wildcats ran the table in the league en route to a runner-up finish in the State 3A tournament, while LC finished 6-6 overall and third in the 4A District.
Mt. Spokane lost its first match of the year after a 4-0 start, and faces Central Valley, another GSL title contender, on Friday. LC, now 5-0, faces Rogers Friday night at Spokane Falls Community College.
Even with a team that lost several key players to graduation, the Wildcats had several chances to equalize, but the Tigers defense – led by center backs Haydn Gabbert and Dani Greenwood – held Mt. Spokane to eight shots.
The Wildcats’ final chance came in the final minute, when Maddy Boyd’s shot from the right side went past LC keeper Kourtney Wick and two feet wide of the left post.
“That comes from the experience we have,” said LC coach Katie Himmerich. “They (Gabbert and Greenwood) are my twin towers – they read each other and you can tell that they’re in sync.”
Elsewhere, Sara Grozdanich scored five goals to lead Central Valley to an 8-0 win over Rogers. The Bears, GSL runners-up last season, also got two assists from Alaina Bates and held the Pirates to two shots on goal for the match. … Hannah Caudill notched a pair of goals and Mallory Payne handed out a pair of assists to power the visiting Gonzaga Prep Bullpups to a 6-1 victory over the Shadle Park Highlanders. … The Ferris Saxons scored seven times in the second half to beat North Central 8-0 at the Southside Sports Complex. … Rylee Rassier’s unassisted goal in the 79th minute gave University a 2-1 win over the visiting Mead Panthers.