Thursday, September 13, 2012

New field stars as opener goes scoreless for Spokane CC

Construction, a new field and some soccer on display at Spokane Falls CC | Photos: Gerald Barnhart
Though the facility continues to be under renovation, the Community Colleges of Spokane kicked off the home slate of their schedule Wednesday evening at Spokane Falls CC with the debut of the new turf field, playing visiting Edmonds CC to a scoreless draw.

It was a game of close calls and frustration as the Sasquatch had near misses minutes into each half and were inches away from finding a winner with 16 minutes left in the game on a spectacular series.

“I think it was just one of those days where maybe the excitement of a new field - just the feeling here; guys just couldn’t get the ball into the back of the net today,” said CCS head coach Kenny Krestian. “Couple of good opportunities early. It could have been two or three-nil early, but nothing goes. And then you could just sense the frustration kind of fill in. Then as we go through the second half we start to pick up a little more pressure, a little more tempo. Not a lot created until the series where ball at the post, goalkeeper makes saves. We just can’t get the ball in the back of the net right now.”

The close calls began three minutes into the contest when Thomas Tran (Spokane, WA) sent a shot off the crossbar for Spokane. A minute later Isaac Peter (Spokane, WA), who was a handful throughout the game, had a shot from close range denied by goalkeeper Andrew McDonald.

From there, Spokane struggled to find consistent possession, but the defense kept opportunities for Edmonds at a minimum. However, in the 29th minute a long ball from midfield put Devon Prince (Medical Lake, WA) one-on-one with the keeper, who came out and made a good close-range stop 12 yards out in the right side of the area. Two minutes later a ball was sent in from the right to Jared Fretheim (Spokane, WA), who turned and created a little space to unleash a shot from just inside the box that was stopped.

Edmonds’ best chance of the half came with four minutes remaining on a long sequence around the box as Spokane failed several times to clear it away. It ended with the ball coming to Tony North, who fired a shot that was handled well by Ian Graves (Medical Lake, WA).

The second half started off similarly with Spokane nearly scoring just a minute into the period. Zach Allert (Spokane, WA) created a turnover at midfield that resulted in the ball going to Peter, who drove into the box past a defender and sent a shot just wide of the far post from a narrow angle.

Six minutes later Edmonds nearly made Spokane pay for the missed chances when a casual play in the back allowed North to take the ball and crack a shot from the edge of the box that was saved nicely second half goalkeeper Bridger Peres (Newman Lake, WA).

Back-to-back stops by McDonald in 74th key
In the 63rd minute Michael Kingsley (Boise, ID) acquired the ball outside the right corner of the area and drove into the box before having his shot blacked just outside of the six by a defender.

Reilly Cross would test Peres again in the 72nd minute with a shot inside the box. From that point, it was nearly all Spokane as the Bigfoot created two more excellent opportunities to finish out the match.

In the 74th minute a shot from Matt Harper just inside the top of the box directed to the lower left corner of the goal forced a fantastic diving save by McDonald. Prince, however, was just a few yards off the post and crashed in for the rebound, compelling McDonald to recover and make a point-blank stop just inches away from the post.

With nine minutes left in the match, Prince nearly created another goal when he drove into the right side of the box and delivered a cross to an unmarked Alex Renz (Spokane, WA) on the left side, but the first-time effort from 17 yards went right to McDonald.

“It’s one of those frustrating days where I don’t feel we fully performed to our potential, and it just showed in the spirit and the tempo of the match,” Krestian said.

The field is ready, grandstand still being worked on
“Right now we got a great field to play on, flat and level – 70 wide by 115 long. Now we just need to get the continued results to match the greatness of the facility. It’s been a long time coming where we finally have something to be very proud of as a facility goes.”

Krestian pointed out that in addition to the new field will be accompanied by a major overhaul of the grandstand, which is still being worked on – as is a large portion of the campus as the school expands. The estimated $1.5 million being used on the soccer and track complex is part of a larger $40 million renovation for both Community Colleges of Spokane campuses approved by the state legislature in 2009. The renovated grandstand already features some fixed-up stairs, but more important is what many will not see – the new locker rooms for the men and women’s teams, a teaching room and a soccer office.

As construction continues, so will the season for the Sasquatch.

“Moving forward from here, we’ll play another non-league game Saturday at North Idaho. From there on everything’s league. It’ll be roughly two games a week – Wednesday, Saturday,” said Krestian. “(We are) looking to finish top three in our region, make playoffs; and I think it will be a battle. It always is, but I think it will definitely be a battle down to the last match between Walla Walla, us, Columbia Basin – Wenatchee can pull some surprises in there and you never know what you are gonna get from Treasure Valley. So I think realistically it’s a full season ahead of us that every match is important.”