Paige Malm and her Lewis and Clark girls soccer teammates have overcome more than a few challenges lately.
Last year, the Tigers broke in a new coach. Then Malm broke her leg in the first match of the season.
This year, LC has dealt with fire (and the resulting smoke that wiped out several matches), and now the sudden damp chill that’s descended on Spokane just in time for the Greater Spokane League season.
That’s OK, said Malm, a senior forward and team captain.
“Not playing last year was hard, but I know it’s going to be a super great year … we’re having a lot of fun and games,” Malm said.
The Tigers expect to win plenty of them this year. Malm looks to be one of the GSL’s most dangerous strikers and the Tigers return seven starters along with 16 letter winners.
In short, the Tigers are loaded for Bears – the Central Valley variety, that is.
Every match is important, but it’s hard not to look forward to Wednesday’s match under the lights at CV.
While giving deference to South Hill rival Ferris and the rest of the GSL, the Tigers can’t avoid a forward look at the calendar and the match at CV.
“We haven’t beaten them in the four years I’ve been here,” LC midfielder and fellow captain Alli Schoultz said.
One match won’t make or break the Tigers, who expect to improve on last year’s 10-8 season and fourth-place finish in the GSL.
For one thing, they’ve acclimated to coach Mica Lamb.
“There’s a trust that may not have existed last season,” said Lamb, the longtime LC boys coach who took over the girls side last year.
“I think that the intensity is different in girls soccer and sometimes the style of play is different too,” Schoultz said.
The Tigers’ third captain, Jackie Brown, admits to “some tension” last year, but that’s in the past.
“We’re all really positive this year,” said Brown, a first-team all-GSL defender last year who’s moving forward this year. “Everyone gets along really well and goes along with our mindset on the field.”
For Lamb, that means aggressive play – “I think we’ll put the ball in the net,” he said.
The Tigers return high-scoring Camryn Gardner, who figures to get plenty of passes from Malm.
“She’s going to create a lot of opportunities for others,” Lamb said of Malm.
Other key players include goalkeepers Jessie Quacquarini and Erin Carney; defenders Taylor Kenney, Erynn Gores, Sydney Ward and Cameron Fahnsholtz; midfielders Iris Hartwig and Kiki Bourekis; and forward Carolyn Moravec.
The Tigers (3-0-2 going into Wednesday’s GSL opener against North Central) are a veteran team, but Lamb predicts, “You’ll see us at our best in October.”
Blame that on the smoke that inundated the region in early September, canceling matches and sending the Tigers and other teams indoors.
“We were practicing in the wrestling room because that’s all that was available to us,” Lamb said.
After the skies cleared, LC was held to a pair of 1-1 ties against Mt. Spokane and Idaho big-school champion Lake City.
That’s just another speed bump, Schoultz said.
“We are all working hard, because we have a common goal,” Schoultz said.
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