Southridge returned to the Class 3A state tournament for the third time in the past four seasons, eliminating University High 2-0 with a gutsy performance in the Class 3A regional tournament in Kennewick.
Southridge made an adjustment in midfield after a regional loss to Mt. Spokane, moving seniors Michelle Foster and Hannah Sanders from forward to midfield. Foster and Sanders helped solidify the Suns on both ends of the field and bring a balance to their play.
“That made a huge difference today. We came out and created some good opportunities today. We probably should have had a goal or two in the first half,” Southridge coach Greg Sambrano said.
Mercedes Haberling scored the Suns’ first goal in the 45th minute off an assist from Sanders, chipping a shot over U-Hi goalkeeper Ryann Rydeen for a 1-0 lead. Haberling assisted on the next goal in the 64th minute, finding McKaley Goffard on a central run inside the Titans’ 18-yard box for a 2-0 lead. Sambrano also credited Southridge freshman Tiara Valadez with a strong effort in goal after making seven saves. Valadez is one of 11 freshmen who helped catapult the Suns to the No. 2 regional seed and another trip to state.
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Many of them were members of the Three Rivers U-14 girls squad that reached the National Cup XII finals over the summer, falling just short of a national title.
“The thing is, even though they’re young, they’ve played in a lot of big games,” said Sambrano, who gave props to his three seniors — Foster, Sanders and Bree Lane — for setting a good example.
“They really set the tone for stepping it up and playing better. We played pretty well today against a solid team,” Sambrano said.
Southridge (13-6) will travel to Mt. Spokane (12-5) at 6 p.m. Tuesday for a first-round matchup.
Scoring—1, S, Mercedes Haberling (Hannah Sanders), 45:00; 2, S, McKaley Goffard (Haberling), 64:00. Shots—U 7, S 7. Saves—U, Ryann Rydeen 5. S, Tiara Valadez 7.
Mead 2, Chiawana 1: The Panthers picked up a tough road win over the Riverhawks, shutting down Chiawana’s top scoring tandem of Braydey Hodgins and Alexis Stephenson.
The Riverhawks, which won its first-ever district title a week ago, lost its final two matches of the season against Greater Spokane League teams.
Mead earned the No. 2 berth to the Class 4A state tournament and will face the No. 2 seed from District 1.