A year has passed since the Mt. Spokane girls soccer team eliminated Kamiakin from the Class 3A state playoffs in the quarterfinals, which left the Braves wondering how far they could have gone in pursuit of the program’s first state title.
Saturday at 1 p.m., Kamiakin (17-1) — the Mid-Columbia Conference champion — gets another shot at the Wildcats (12-4), and this time it’s on the Braves’ home turf at Lampson Stadium. That’s a welcome change from a year ago, when Mt. Spokane used a small field at Spokane Falls Community College to neutralize Kamiakin’s speedy attackers.
“We have lots of memories from last year,” Braves coach Chris Erickson said. “It will be really nice to have them at Lampson instead of going up to the snow and ice up (in Spokane).”
Kamiakin forward Ellie Heiden recalled the tough conditions, but believes her team is prepared for a tough battle against the Greater Spokane League challenger.
“Any time we play on a smaller field, it’s an advantage for (our opponent). The more room we have, the better,” Heiden said. “(Mt. Spokane is) really aggressive. If you want the ball first, you have to fight for it.”
Braves’ midfielder Brianna Turley, a senior co-captain, is looking forward to the chance to make a return trip to the Class 3A semifinals, a trip Kamiakin last made in 2009.
“I like going into games leading up to state. I know it’s getting closer to the end, but we want to focus on the game in front of us,” Braves senior Brianna Turley said, knowing a win won’t be easy to come by. “They’re very fast, and they like to move the ball around quick. They’re really physical.”
Mead (14-3) at Chiawana (15-3), 5 p.m.: The Riverhawks fell heartbreakingly short of a share of the MCC title, losing their regular-season finale to Southridge. They can go a long way to make up for that with a trip to the Class 4A tournament. The Hawks last reached state in 2011, losing to Lewis & Clark. Mead, which started out 12-1-1 before losing twice in a row in late October, is a dangerous team that eliminated Richland last week.
The Panthers did, however, give up three goals against the Bombers in a 4-3 victory and may have more trouble containing Chiawana forwards Braydey Hodgins (20 goals, 11 assists) and Alexis Stephenson (14 g, 12 a).
University (10-6) at Southridge (12-6), 1 p.m.: The Suns have been one of the MCC’s most pleasant surprises, grabbing the No. 2 seed despite the fact that more than half of their lineup is freshman and sophomores. The Titans will be motivated, however, after absorbing a 2-1 shootout loss to Kamiakin in a game they could have won in regulation.
Mercedes Haberling, a former starting goalkeeper, has emerged as Southridge’s top scorer with 12 goals, while Hannah Sanders — one of the team’s three seniors — has nine goals and leads the team with seven assists.
CBC women (10-7-2 overall, 7-7-2 East) at Edmonds (14-2-3, 12-1-3 North), 5 p.m.: The Hawks have won four of their last five matches, including a 2-1 win over Highline in the NWAACC playoff opener. They’ll face Edmonds (14-2-3 overall, whom they fell to 3-0 in Pasco in mid-September). But CBC is healthy and playing its best soccer of the season.
Edmonds is led by forwards Annelise Coxeff (14 g, 12 a) and Hailey Foley (10 g, 9 a). The Hawks are led by Kiona-Benton graduate Mykenzie Lilly (9 g) and Richland grad Yesenia Alvarado (7 g, 2 a).