Former Central Valley standout Ashley Ames helped smooth the Concordia University women’s soccer team’s transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II ranks, leading the Cavaliers to a 2013 NAIA national title as a junior, elevating the program’s reputation before the switch.
Her younger sister, Kacie Ames, was handed the baton as a freshman in 2015, boosting Concordia in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference until last fall, when the 11th-ranked Cavaliers reached the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Now an established Division II program six seasons removed from its former NAIA membership, the Portland school has loftier goals with forward Maggie Ames.
Maggie Ames, a former Greater Spokane League MVP for CV, is already averaging 43 minutes a game as a true freshman.
Her smooth transition to college is no surprise to longtime Concordia coach Grant Landy.
“Maggie brings that fire of competitiveness which you also saw in Kasey and Ashley. She’s super athletic and has a high work rate, which I love,” Landy said. “We have thrown a lot of new information at her so far, and she seems to be soaking it up. She’s very coachable and is learning a lot about the college game.”
But wait, there’s more.
Central Valley senior Dori Ames, the youngest of the four Ames sisters, has given an oral commitment to Landy, according to her family.
“The program here is strong and (Landy) is a good coach to play for,” Maggie said. “I like how small the school is and how it’s not too far from home.”
A year apart, Maggie and Dori were instrumental in Central Valley’s recent GSL title runs and state tournament appearances.
They’ll look to do the same together in college, something their older, decorated sisters didn’t get to experience.
Maggie did get the rare opportunity last month of sharing the pitch with Ashley and Kacie, eight and four years older than Maggie, respectively, when Corcordia faced its alumni team.
“Ashley fell on the ball, and everyone joked that I pushed her down,” Maggie said. “But I didn’t, though things do get competitive.”
Such is the case being raised in an athletic household.
The Ames girls are the daughters of former Washington and U-Hi football standout Bill Ames, a tight end who had a brief stint with the Indianapolis Colts. Their grandfather, also Bill, was a longtime U-Hi teacher, coach and athletic director.
“(Dad) coached us for a long time,” said Maggie, whose only brother, Billy Ames, was also a former standout athlete at Central Valley and now attends Washington. “And we all just wanted to keep playing at a high level.”
Cougars fall in poll
Washington State’s women, previously ranked No. 13 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, dropped 11 spots to No. 24 this week.
WSU (5-1) recently edged West Coast Conference members Gonzaga (1-0 in overtime) and Loyola Marymount (2-1) and fell 2-1 in Pullman to Michigan, a traditionally middle-of-the-pack team Big Ten team.
Zags, Eags return home
After beating Nebraska and Kansas State on their respective pitches, the ascending Gonzaga women (6-2), return home Friday to face Idaho State (1-6-1) in a nonleague match.
The EWU women (3-4-1) also return home on Friday, playing host to North Dakota State (4-3-1).
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