That target has been on the back of Central Valley’s soccer jerseys as long as the Bears can remember.
And that’s just fine with the current CV players, who are chasing their third straight trip to the State 4A semifinals.
“It’s not a big factor, because we’re going to play the same way no matter what,” senior defender Noah Whitman said. “We have a high standard, and we have to hold ourselves to that standard.”
If you’re keeping track, the Bears are 39-8 in Greater Spokane League matches in the last five-plus seasons, with three league titles in the mix.
That’s only one reason the Bears were a near-unanimous pick to repeat as GSL champs despite returning just five starters and seven letter winners.
Besides Whitman – a first-team all-GSL defender – CV also returns all-league midfield Rudy Stretch.
The Bears also have something just as important – chemistry.
“Just look at them, they really like each other,” coach Andres Monrroy said as the Bears joked after a recent practice.
“These kids are really easy to motivate – in fact they motivate themselves,” added Monrroy, who’s 100-27 in nine years at CV.
“That chemistry means a lot,” Stretch said. “We have dinner parties twice a week, trying to be a family and having fun.”
The biggest killjoy is the weather. A rainy winter dragged into spring, forcing the Bears indoors for most of their practice sessions.
With just one outdoor practice session under their belts, the Bears opened the season with a 3-2 shootout loss at Eastmont. Two weeks ago, they fell 5-2 to a strong Pasco team that hasn’t had to deal with soggy turf.
That also served as the initiation for sophomore goalkeepers Logan Coddington and Andrew Bertone, who faced 13 shots that day.
In three matches since, the Bears are 3-0 while scoring 16 goals and giving up one.
This year, CV is off to a 2-0 start in league play, routing Mt. Spokane 3-0 and Mead 4-1.
A new forward line is finding its footing. Senior Jake Levine, a backup last year, scored twice against Mt. Spokane. Two days later, junior midfielder Conner Wold had a hat trick, while classmate Devin Hauenstein added a goal and an assist.
“It’s great to be held to high expectations, because that’s going to help us get to regional and state,” Levine said.
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