Monday, July 16, 2012

Spokane Shine withdraw from WPSL playoffs, replaced by Issaquah SC

Issaquah SC headed to the WPSL postseason in San Diego - Photo: Gerald Barnhart
After winning the Northwest Division championship over the weekend, the Spokane Shine withdrew from the WPSL playoffs Monday due to an inability to finance the  postseason trip to San Diego for the upcoming Western Conference playoff tournament. The team has been replaced by the second-place Issaquah SC, who are expected to announce the news officially this evening.

When asked about the withdrawal, team president Linda Davis said:

“Only two years young and look what the Shine team - owners, coaches, trainers, players, advisory board and fans - have accomplished: best in the Northwest. We could not be more proud to be the WPSL Northwest Division Champions. Now we look forward to year three when funding will allow us to fulfill our second dream, a trip to the WPSL Playoffs.”

Head coach Jason Quintero added that part of the team's decision was based on player availability. The loss of additional players to college commitments left the squad with "too few healthy players," and left the team in a position competitively that was inadequate for the immense travel expenses associated with traveling to San Diego.

Quintero estimated the cost of the postseason trip from Spokane to be in the range of at least $12-14,000 for the Shine. Davis noted that the league does not have a travel pool or reimbursement program for the playoffs until the WPSL Final Four.

Issaquah SC, featuring Pasco's Shawna Anderson, will travel to San Diego where they will play the host SeaLions in the opening conference semifinal match at 5:00 pm PT July 21. San Diego won the Pacific-South Division with a 5-1-0 record, outscoring their opponents 20-3.

The second semifinal will be Salt Lake United (Big Sky-North) versus the California Storm (Pacific-North), who survived the final day similar to the Shine. Tied at the top of the table with North Bay FC Wave (but ahead on tiebreakers), the Storm had to await a Sunday match featuring the West Coast Wildkatz, who were two points back. Bay Area Breeze, second from bottom, did the Storm a huge favor with a thrilling 3-3 draw.

The semifinal winners will advance to the conference final at 4:00 pm the next day at host Cathedral Catholic High School.