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EV’s Mastronardi master of midfield

EV’s Andrew Mastronardi, left, is headed to Oregon State. (J. Bart Rayniak / The Spokesman-Review)
EV’s Andrew Mastronardi, left, is headed to Oregon State. (J. Bart Rayniak / The Spokesman-Review)

There is nothing middling about Greater Spokane League soccer midfielders. The league was blessed in abundance with exceptional talent at the position this year.

One, East Valley’s Andrew Mastronardi, has signed with Oregon State, although he’ll likely play forward.

He’s making his fourth straight 3A regional appearance today with the Knights, including three as a starter, when the GSL’s 3A top seed hosts a regional match against Sunnyside at 5 p.m. at Albi Stadium.

Joining EV in region is Mt. Spokane, the GSL’s fourth seed and 2-0 upset winner over North Central in the first round. The Wildcats travel to West Valley-Yakima, also at 5.

The Beavers showed interest and offered Mastronardi a scholarship after watching him play twice, including at the Surf Cup in San Diego, where he scored three times in a match for the River City Steelers.

“They said they liked how I played and that I scored goals,” Mastronardi said.

His game was honed on Knights teams that won the final two of three straight GSL titles and made a state appearance, reaching the quarterfinals in 2007.

“All those guys on the team were just awesome,” said Mastronardi, who was then a sophomore. “They made me work twice as hard to play. I developed a good work ethic, because I was trying to earn a spot on the field.”

He was All-GSL last year and it has carried over into this, his final season. First-year coach Jeff Paulus said that Mastronardi and fellow senior Matt Eatock are the heart and soul of EV’s fifth straight regional qualifier.

“Andrew’s a coach’s dream,” Paulus said. “He works harder than all the guys at practice and in the games. He dominates the field wherever he’s at. I’m biased, but I think he’s the best center midfielder in league.”

That’s saying something considering three others, Casey Ames of league champion and 4A regional qualifier Lewis and Clark, and Ferris stars James Matern and Ian Hartfield, have signed to play with Gonzaga University. Junior Nick Hamer of regional qualifier Mead and University’s Mikey Ramos are also returning All-GSL players.

Most are members of the River City team that last year reached the national finals in Virginia.

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