For the Lewis and Clark boys soccer team, Wednesday was all about opportunities.
The Tigers made the most of them at both ends of the field to take a 1-0 win over Davis in a first-round State 4A match at Spokane Falls Community College.
Tiger forward Tyler Koffinke was in the right place at the right time to score the lone goal, while goalkeeper John Zylak made an improbable late save to give LC a another big opportunity this weekend: a shot at the Final Four.
“We’re excited, and hopefully we can get the job done and get more than one goal,” said LC coach Mica Lamb, whose Tigers (16-2-1) will play Pasco in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.
One goal was enough on Wednesday. It came in the 13th minute after Jared Mehaffey’s corner kick had seemingly been cleared by the Pasco defenders. LC recovered to put the ball in the goalmouth, where Koffinke recalled “just bringing the ball down and putting it in the back of the net.”
A minute later, Koffinke was out of the game after taking a hit to the head from a Davis player during an attempted header.
“He just went right through me,” Koffinke said.
Davis threatened to do the same to LC the rest of the first half. The Pirates (11-7-1) dominated possession but failed to dent a solid LC back line that got better as the match went on.
Bailey Rosenau had a nice shot from 15 feet that was saved by the Davis keeper, but the Pirates’ Cole Mattson was just off target with a 25-yard screamer in the 35th minute.
“I didn’t think that in the first half we were very clean, and maybe we were a little lucky to be up 1-0,” said Lamb, who team is the only one in the Spokane area still playing.
The difference – as usual this season – was the Tigers’ pinpoint passing in midfield. At times, Davis conceded the midfield to absorb the LC attack, but the Pirates were unable to mount much of a counterattack.
“We were able to do what we wanted in the second half,” Lamb said. “We were able to figure them out and do what we wanted offensively without sacrificing too much on the back end.”
For that the Tigers can thank centerback Zak Deutschmann, who helped LC hold Davis to five shots on goal.
LC almost doubled its lead in the 73rd minute. Two minutes later the Tigers had another golden chance with a free kick that Mehaffey took from 30 yards.
The ball rebounded with speed from the Davis defense. Rafael Diaz pounced on the ball, evaded two Tigers and sped down the field before taking a wicked 15-yard shot the right side of the field.
Somehow, Zylak stretched and came down with the ball to extinguish Davis’ last, best chance.
“It’s all about focus,” Zylak said.
Certainly the Tigers will need more on Saturday against a Pasco team that beat them 2-1 after a penalty-kick shootout last week in the regional finals.
“We felt like we left a lot on the field in that game,” Koffinke said. “Now we’re looking ahead to win state.”
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