Apparently, the road to the State 4A boys soccer finals has a few potholes.
Central Valley negotiated plenty of them Tuesday night before getting past Sumner 1-0 in a first-round match at Spokane Falls Community College.
“That was tougher than I expected,” CV coach Andres Monrroy said after the Bears held on to beat a Sumner squad that barely reached the state playoffs and had to endure a six-hour bus ride to Spokane.
The underdog Spartans forced CV out of its rhythm for most of the first half and kept up the pressure at both ends.
However, the Bears are in the quarterfinals thanks to some solid defense and Jake Levine’s opportunistic play in the 44th minute.
A nice run by Devin Hauenstein led to a near-perfect long throw-in by Rudy Stretch, which was bobbled in the box by Sumner goalkeeper Max Mahaffey.
Levine was waiting.
“I just worked my way through and got a poke at it,” said Levine who tapped the ball into the net for what proved to be the winner.
Even better, the Bears (15-2) won their 14th straight match and advanced to the quarterfinals. They’ll play Saturday afternoon at SFCC against Camas or Sunnyside with a chance to reach the Final Four for the third straight year.
“I told the team at the beginning of the year that we’re making it to the Final Four again,” said defender Noah Whitman, who will take his skills to the University of Washington this fall.
“I’d consider the season a failure if we don’t make the Final Four.”
That’s a tough sell, even by CV standards: This year’s squad has already claimed the Greater Spokane League, and just knocked off top-ranked Pasco to win the regional title.
Sumner (17-4-2) was unfazed as the underdog. The Spartans had the better of it for much of the first half, though Levine nearly scored on a breakaway in the sixth minute and Hauenstein created several chances on the wing.
CV’s best chance in the first half also came from Levine, who headed the ball just left of the post before colliding head-first with Mahaffey in the 34th minute.
“This tells you it’s going to be tough to make it to the Final Four … but we stayed composed,” Monrroy said.
CV’s defense was tested after Levine’s goal, but the Bears fended off every Sumner attack while goalkeeper Andrew Bertone needed to make just three saves.
Sumner’s best chance at an equalizer came in the 75th minute, when a long free kick struck the crossbar.
Central Valley outshot Sumner 6-5.
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