Thursday, October 27, 2016

NWAC East Tonight 10.26.16: Spokane clinches divisional title in Mudbowl at NIC

In the only game that ultimately mattered this week on the women's side, a first-place showdown in Coeur d'Alene between North Idaho played and visiting Spokane highlighted Wednesday afternoon's slate. At stake was a third consecutive NWAC East title for the Bigfoot while the Cardinals had a chance to move atop the table.

Three goals from Erica Simpson of nearby Post Falls, Idaho gave CC Spokane a third consecutive NWAC East championship as their 3-1 victory over the Cardinals on a quagmire of a field moved the Bigfoot five points clear with one game remaining.

The men's contest at NIC was cancelled as the previously questionable pitch was utterly destroyed by the earlier women's match. The Cardinals, though, still managed to clinch one of the three postseason spots with Wenatchee Valley falling. The Knights loss also clinched a spot for Walla Walla, which won at Columbia Basin.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

HS DAILY - 10.26.16: Freeman shocks Deer Park via shootout, Lakeside advances

In the biggest postseason upset in the region thus far, Northeast A League top seed Deer Park and its high-powered offense was unable to get past Freeman in the the opening round of the district playoffs. A one goal lead was not enough as the Scotties, via the heroics of their two goalkeepers, equalized on a free kick and ultimately advanced in a tiebreaker shootout after finishing in a 1-1 stalemate.

Meanwhile, Lakeside topped Medical Lake 3-1 to move on to the NEA final.

In the final week of play in the Columbia Basin Big Nine, the Wenatchee Panthers won a tight contest Tuesday with Eastmont that left the Wildcats vulnerable going into the final night of the regular season Thursday. If things play out the way they should on paper in the final games Thursday (see schedule & table below), Moses Lake would take the third seed and Eastmont and Davis would be tied with the fourth seed going to tiebreakers. Davis swept the season series between the two with 3-2 (shootout) and 1-0 wins. The other contests Tuesday went as expected with Davis winning at Sunnyside and Moses Lake rolling against Eisenhower.

Also in central Washington, Ephrata and Othello won as expected to create a semifinal bracket with the top four teams, which all finished even in the regular season table at 7-2. The winners from the games at Ellensburg and Selah on Thursday will move onto the district championship and state tournament with the losers moving forward to square off in a seeding match that will pair them up with the top finalists of the Great Northern League tournament.

Here's a look around the action from Tuesday...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

HS DAILY - 10.25.16: Walla Walla stuns Pasco, LC survives scare in playoff openers

The Walla Walla Blue Devils went into the 4A opening round playoff contest against Mid-Columbia Conference foe Pasco as heavy underdogs with their two wins this season coming against winless Kennewick and dropping both league games to the Bulldogs 2-1 and 3-1. But all of that was thrown out of the window Monday evening when they took the lead twice and held on for a shocking 2-1 victory over the 5-9 Bulldogs to advance to a second round match-up with GSL champion Mead.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket in the Greater Spokane League's matching 4A opener, the Lewis & Clark Tigers were looking to avoid an upset by University, which led their previous league meeting by two before falling 4-2 to the Tigers. LC were up by three early in the second half before seeing the Titans finally finding some success on the offensive end, scoring two in a comeback attempt that also so another effort go off the crossbar and one go narrowly over as they held on for the 3-2 win and a second round meeting with MCC co-champion Hanford.

In the lone 3A opener, the two winless sides Rogers and Kennewick squared off in Tri-Cities with the Lions rolling to an 11-0 victory.

Here's a look around the action from Monday...

DI / DII ROUND-UP: Lady Zags rally for dramatic win, Boise State clinches playoff spot

Boise State celebrated a fantastic road trip that netted a spot in the Mountain West Conference tournament, posting a 1-1 draw against league leading UNLV and a shutout win at Nevada.

In the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference, Central Washington has locked up one of the four tournament berths on the women's side thanks to a win over Northwest Nazarene before dropping their second match to Western Washington, which has clinched the regular season title with two games left. Concordia, loaded with several players from the region, is three points back, trying to catch the duo of Seattle Pacific and Simon Fraser in the race for the other two spots.

On the men's side of the GNAC, Northwest Nazarene (5-1-2) and MSU-Billings (4-2-3) are within range of leader Simon Fraser (6-0-2) with four games remaining in the race for the regular season title (no conference tournament). NNU's unbeaten streak - all one-goal decisions - reached seven games (5-0-2). They topped Seattle Pacific 1-0 in overtime and then Concordia 1-0 in regulation, which was a nice change of pace as the result ended their string of six consecutive overtime games.

But the game of the week was in Spokane where Gonzaga followed up Friday's victory that ended their five-game losing streak (four in conference) with a stunning comeback rally against Pacific in which they erased a two goal deficit and tallied an overtime winner in the span of 11 minutes.

Monday, October 24, 2016

HS DAILY - 10.24.16: Shootout win gives Southridge share of MCC title; Mt Spokane grabs top 3A GSL seed

It took a shootout win, but it was a win nonetheless and gave the Southridge Suns a share of the MCC championship with Hanford. The Suns led the league from the beginning, but with Hanford winning Thursday to move ahead with the Suns playing their finale on the road at early season contender Kamiakin Saturday, the title was at stake for them for the first time.

On Friday, things were fairly quiet in the Greater Spokane League with the top teams playing sides that, on paper, they should easily handle. Mead, Central Valley, Gonzaga Prep and University posted big wins but the script did not play out that way for Lewis & Clark, which has not only had an up and down season with their results, but within many of their games. This time, they saw 3A side Mt Spokane rally for a win that they greatly wanted to earn the top seed for their classification heading into the postseason.

In other weekend action, the Great Northern League's final two games were meaningless in regard to postseason seeding, and there were no surprises as West Valley and East Valley both won.

Here's a look around the action from Friday & Saturday... plus Power Rankings & Updated Brackets...

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Big Sky Tonight 10.23.16: Idaho clinches share of Big Sky title with four point weekend

The Final Friday of the Big Sky season will certainly be dramatic. With Idaho picking up a draw and a win at home this weekend, the Vandals ensured at least a share of the regular season championship going into their last game, but Eastern Washington rebounded from a Friday defeat by winning at North Dakota to keep the Vandals within reach.

Hosting Montana, a side still working to return to the postseason, in their finale, the Eagles could earn a share of the title and the right to host the Big Sky tournament if they post a win and the Vandals fall to in-state foe Idaho State in their home finale.

A pair of tight contests on the weekend earned Montana (4-2-3, 15 points) a narrow win and a scoreless draw, leaving them tied for fourth in the table as the race for the remaining three of six berths are up for grabs. Also in the mix are Northern Arizona (15 points), Northern Colorado (13), Portland State (13) and Idaho State (12).

The Bengals still have an outside shot at reaching the postseason despite dropping both matches on the weekend, but will need some help in addition to posting a win at Idaho.

NWAC East Tonight 10.22.16: Picture coming into focus for postseason teams

With two games remaining, it appears that only two races are left in the NWAC East. On the men's side of things Saturday, a victory over the Warriors pulled North Idaho even with Walla Walla in the table for the race for second. With NIC picking up a win, Wenatchee Valley needed to keep pace, but the Knights falling at Columbia Basin put a serious dent in their chances at claiming a playoff spot sitting four points back with two games left.

On the women's side, the remaining race is for the division championship as Walla Walla were edged by the Cardinals in Coeur d'Alene. The result left the Warriors locked in as the third seed. North Idaho is still two points back of Spokane, which posted a big win over Treasure Valley in their home finale with a trip across the border for a first place showdown on tap for Wednesday.