The Shadow First Teams opened their seasons with an unbeaten doubleheader at Yakima Sunday afternoon in the Northwest Premier League and Evergreen Premier League. The ladies dominated in a 5-2 victory in their first-ever match to open the NWPL season and the two-time champion men opened their EPLWA title defense with a scoreless stalemate against the Hoppers.
Shadow Women's First Team
Spokane 5-2 Yakima
Spo: Megan Lindsay (Sarah Cox) 4
Spo: Lindsay 16
Spo: Marissa Mykines (Lindsay) 24
Spo: Lindsay (Kellie Zakrzewski) 45
Yak: Amber Simms 50
Spo: Cox (Tiara Pittman-Thomas) 60
Yak: Susana Arreola 62
The Shadow Women dominated from the opening in their inaugural contest, and striker Megan Lindsay (pictured right) led the way with a brilliant performance that saw her net a hat-trick and set up a fourth in the first half before moving to a midfield role after the intermission.
All three Lindsay strikes were completely different. The early tally came when Sarah Cox beat a defender in the right corner and sent a ball in toward the six, finding the head of Lindsay, who calmly nodded it inside the left post in the fourth minute
Yakima nearly tied it up in the 10th when Yakima's Kaley Roberts got past the defense only to send her shot over the goal.
A great individual play from Lindsay doubled the score in the 16th when she took the ball at midfield and drove all the way to the box before she cut inside a defender and deftly placed a shot off the underside of the bar that bounced over the line and then back up inside the roof of the goal.
Five minutes later Shadow youth standout Alisa (AJ) Crooks made an outstanding tip save on a Yakima free kick from the far left that Kaylah Gonzales put on goal.
Lindsay turned provider shortly after in the 24th when she connected with Marissa Mykines, who ripped a shot from about 25 yards into the left side of the goal.
With just seconds remaining in the half Lindsay nabbed her third on a short ball forward from Kellie Zakrzewski that split the defenders and put her on a run to goal. Lindsay drove past a defender and sent a slow roller inside the left post from 17 yards.
Lindsay's hat-trick, the first in NWPL history, was a historic repeat for the Shadow as Mike Ramos was the first to accomplish the feat in EPLWA on July 19, 2014.
The Hoppers took advantage of a bit of early-season miscommunication about five minutes into the second half to get on the board via Amber Simms. At the hour mark, though, Cox restored the three-goal margin with a strike from about 17 yards.
Yakima netted their second in the 62nd minute when a low ball sent from the right got past back-up keeper Jenna Lauer inside the six and was buried far post by Susana Arreola.
Lindsay nearly netted a fourth with nine minutes left when she connected for a great header off a corner only to see Yakima keeper Amanda Freisz make a fingertip save onto the crossbar.
Shadow Men's First Team
Spokane 0-0 Yakima
Shutouts - SPO: Raymond Ruano - YAK: Jacob Rhoads
Shadow goalkeeper Raymond Ruano and Yakima netminder Jacob Rhoads made things difficult for attacking players on the day as the two long-time rivals battled to a scoreless stalemate.
The result extends Spokane's current unbeaten run to 12 games (10-0-2) and added yet another tally on its unblemished EPLWA road record, which now stands at 12-0-3 after going 6-0-1 in their first two campaigns on the road.
It looked like the men were going to copy the ladies great start with a goal 13 minutes in when Jesse Retan sent a good chance diagonally from the right side about 15 yards out that forced a good save from Rhoads.
Six minutes later Ruano made an amazing save on the second chance from a corner when defender Dennis Stevenson flew in with a diving header that Ruano dove to parry away.
Ruano made another nice diving save at the half-hour mark when Yakima's Jesse Esquivel got around the corner of the defense and ripped a shot from about 16 yards.
Three minutes later Kazuki Tateishi was fouled twice in the box without a call, but it led to back-to-back shots inside the box that, unfortunately, went right at Rhoads for denials.
Both teams had a chance in the final minute. Yakima's Lupe Rodriguez got an open look on the right side, but the strike hit the side-netting. At the other end Yakima defender Ozzie Martinez nearly chipped his own goalkeeper from a mere five yards away, but Rhoads stuck his arm up and got enough of it to be able to collect the loose ball.
The second half proved to be a more methodical period as both sides continually pressed to find chances that proved to limited.
The Shadow will host their Home Openers this Saturday, May 7 at Spokane Falls CC Stadium. The Women's First Team will kick off at 4:30 pm against Twin Cities and the Men's First Team will play Vancouver at approximately 6:00 pm.