For 90 minutes of regulation play and overtime, Lewis and Clark soccer players could not score. The Tigers are Greater Spokane League champions nonetheless.
Such is the nature of a sport in which even a loss can be a win.
LC (9-3 overall, 9-1 in the GSL) was beaten 1-0 in a shootout at Central Valley (11-1, 9-1) but claimed the title with 27 points to the Bears’ 25.
Soccer teams get three points for a regulation or overtime victory, two points for a shootout win and one for a shootout loss. By keeping CV scoreless through overtime as well, the Tigers assured themselves the title.
What they didn’t get was an undefeated season.
“Obviously, the boys wanted to go unbeaten,” LC coach Casey Curtis said. “I think both teams played pretty well defensively, but I don’t think that was our game. We were not finding the right guys, didn’t follow the game plan and let the physicality get to us.
“But only one team gets a trophy so we can’t be angry about that.”
CV, which had to replace nearly its entire defense, was an unknown entity entering the season after sharing the GSL title last year. But the Bears proved to be a contender again.
When the game went down to a shootout, the Bears converted four penalty kicks to LC’s two for the victory.
CV missed its initial attempt, but goalkeeper Ryan Wurz made two diving saves right off the bat, first to his left, next to his right, to give the Bears the hammer.
“A good job is to get one,” Wurz said.
His teammates then converted four shots in a row with senior Holden Newberg collecting the winner.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” Newberg said of the shootout, “but it felt really good to beat the GSL champions. It was definitely a nail-biter tonight.”
Newberg said when in a PK situation what he does is pick a spot and go for it.
“I don’t think about it and guessed right,’ he said.
The shots and saves were nearly even. In the first half, both teams missed several attempts that went over the goal.
The Bears had one serious attempt when Trevor Delmedico went 1-on-1 on a breakaway run against LC keeper Chris Hollman but was thwarted.
In the second half again, neither team could dent the goal. It was the same through two 5-minute overtimes. But CV came through in the shootout.
“I’m so proud of the boys,” Bears coach Andres Monrroy said. “We were picked fifth in league and they took that as a challenge. They gave 110 percent. And hats off to LC, they are a good team. Congratulations for them winning the league. There was a good crowd and it was a good night for soccer.”
•Also in the GSL: The other league matches were one-sided. At Mead, forward Jay Jansen scored three goals in a 4-1 victory by the third-place Panthers (8-3, 8-2, 24) over East Valley (5-7, 5-5, 14). … At Mt. Spokane, fourth-place Ferris (8-4, 7-3, 21) blanked the Wildcats (2-10, 1-9) 6-0, Jonny Wah also with a three-goal hat trick. Isaac Peter added a goal and two assists. … At University, the Titans (10-3, 7-3, 21) shared fourth with a 4-0 win over North Central (7-8, 4-6, 14). Chris Woodard had two assists. … At Rogers, Gonzaga Prep (6-7, 3-7, 9) defeated the Pirates (1-12, 1-9) 8-1. Connor Dickson and Johnny Bartich each had two goals and Justin Gates recorded four assists. … Playoffs begin next week for five 4A and four 3A teams.
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