The young Central Valley girls soccer team hit its growth spurt at just the right time.
The moment was Wednesday night’s showdown at Gonzaga Prep, and the Bears rose to the occasion with a 1-0 win that gave them sole possession of first place in the Greater Spokane League.
“It was tenacity, determination and just pure effort,” CV coach Andres Monrroy said of a team whose starting lineup includes five sophomores, five juniors and just one senior.
“We’re young, so the season is a growing process for us,” Monrroy said. “We’re just growing and clicking – it’s fun to see them grow.”
The Bears (5-0 in the GSL and 7-1 overall) did just that in a midseason showdown in front of about 200 fans at chilly Bullpup Stadium. Defending GSL champ G-Prep had the better of the action in the first half, but had only two-near misses to show for it.
The Bears were outshot 11 to 5 on the night, but absorbed the pressure and counterattacked. The strategy paid off seven minutes after halftime, as sophomore midfielder Maggie Ames dribbled down the left side and crossed to junior midfielder Anna Hilbert at the top of the box.
“I knew I had to shoot,” said Hilbert, who shot past Prep goalkeeper Zoe Boleneus into the right side of the net.
“The coaches are always talking about placement, so that’s all that was going through my mind,” Hilbert said.
G-Prep’s best chance came a few minutes later, as Chelsea Le broke into the box and was upended by CV keeper Jenna Lauer.
“I didn’t mean to hit her, but when I’m going for the ball, that’s how it goes sometimes,” said Lauer, who picked up a yellow card.
However, G-Prep midfielder Darby Doyle was wide left on the resulting penalty, and CV was able to hold on through a second half that sometimes resembled a siege.
“I thought this was our best game so far,” G-Prep coach Billy Barmes said. “I’m sure we brought out the best in them as they did in us.”
“Any loss is painful, but there’s still the rest of the season to play for,” Barmes said.
Elsewhere, Mead moved into a second-place tie with G-Prep thanks to a dominating 8-0 win over Shadle Park. The Panthers (4-1 in the GSL) got four goals in each half while outshooting the Highlanders 25-5. Senior captain Claire Neder scored a hat trick for Mead, with two of her goals unassisted.
Lewis and Clark stayed in the chase with a dramatic comeback at University. The Tigers (3-2 in the GSL) trailed 2-0 at halftime, but scored four straight in the second half to claim a 4-2 win. Grace Ellis scored first on a high shot from 30 yards out, followed by another long-range effort to equalize midway through the second half. Both teams had opportunities to take the lead in the final 10 minutes, but it was Camryn Gardner who capitalized for the game-winner. Bekah Reason added an insurance goal in the final minute.
In an early 3A showdown, North Central got two goals from Ryley Warren and the game-winner in the final minute from Madison Dersheim en route to a 3-2 win over Mt. Spokane. NC goalkeeper Sarah Manor had 20 saves. Both teams are 2-3 in league.
Ferris scored four goals in the first 10 minutes on the way to a 6-1 win over Rogers. The Saxons improved to 2-3 in GSL play as Alexis Murphy scored two unassisted goals. Rogers fell to 0-4.
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