A year ago, Savannah Gray was an occasional starter who played as a wing at Douglas High School, mostly in the offensive shadow of high-scoring teammates Christina Bradshaw and Hannah Sullivan.
There were no shadows this past weekend because Gray was the one putting the ball in the net with three goals in two games for the Western Nevada Community College Wildcats at the Tri-State Kickoff Classic in Eureka, Calif. - two of which came in a 2-1 victory against tournament host College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif., on Sunday.
Gray scored once to tie the score 1-1 in the first half, assisted by fellow Douglas graduate Jessica Maul, then blasted home the game winner in the second half, assisted by Phalon Mauntel, as the first-year WNCC squad improved to 2-0.
"That was pretty awesome," WNCC coach Hillary Arthur said. "This team has really pulled together. It was a great weekend to be on the road and win twice."
Gray and Maul scored for WNCC in its 2-0 win against Mendocino on Saturday. The two midfielders were named to the all-tournament team, along with offensive center midfielder Melissa Goldfin (North Valleys).
"Savannah came up big for us," Arthur said. "So did Jess. Our Douglas connection was great."
Rachelle Goulet and Lisa Berryman were solid while playing one half each in the net for the Wildcats.
"Redwoods gave us a run," Arthur said. "They played a different style, a lot of long ball where they just kick and run at you. We had to adjust, and once that happened, we played very well. The defense really stepped up and sorted it out in the second half."
Arthur was also pleased to see the team cut down on its fouls. "We only had six fouls, which was a big improvement from yesterday," she said.
WNCC hosts its own tournament starting on Thursday, a three-team event that will include Feather River and Northern Idaho. The Wildcats play Feather River at 4 p.m. on Thursday at Edmonds Sports Complex, then they face Northern Idaho at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
"We're so excited to be at home and on our own field," Arthur said. "We had a bunch of parents drive up to watch us play this weekend. It was nice to have a piece of home with us."