It’s Post Falls and Lake City, one last time.
The Trojans and Timberwolves each won their 5A State girls soccer semifinal matches Friday at Lake City HS. Post Falls blanked Eagle 2-0; Lake City tipped Timberline in a shootout, 4-3.
The two Inland Empire League rivals will meet for the third time this season today at 2 p.m. at Coeur d’Alene High School in the championship match.
Post Falls 2, Eagle 0: Making the most of its first state tournament appearance with a roster that features just one senior, Post Falls continued its stalwart defensive performance and has yet to allow an October goal in regulation play. Post Falls blanked Lake City in the Region I championship match and knocked off Boise in its state tournament opener in a shootout after finishing regulation and two overtime periods in a scoreless tie.
“Our back line is really strong and they’ve played together a lot,” Trojans coach Briggs Anderson said. “We’re a defensively oriented team, and we look to take advantage of quick-strike opportunities for our offense. We haven’t given up a goal in the playoffs and we’re proud of that.”
The Trojans got the only goal they needed in the 17th minute off a quick-strike opportunity. Erica Simpson took a through pass and attacked to the right of the Eagle goalkeeper. When the defense moved to stop her, she found an open teammate, Madeline Roberts, for the score.
Goalkeeper Sam Runkle was strong in front of the Trojans’ net, but needed some help from a friendly crossbar and an even friendlier far post. Eagle managed to keep the majority of play in the Post Falls end, but had difficulty penetrating the Trojans’ back line, rarely managed to carry the ball into the penalty area, and had to settle for shots on goal from long range.
“We got a little lucky on a couple shots,” Anderson said. “That was a pretty typical game for us. We don’t pack the defense in – we played a straight 4-4-2 the whole game.”
Midfielder Kelcie Hedge added an insurance goal in the 73rd minute, collecting a pass in the middle of the field between two Eagle defenders and dribbling well into the penalty area before drilling a left-footed shot into the lower left corner of the goal.
“I think it’s great for North Idaho that two teams are playing for the state title,” Anderson said. “Southern Idaho has been pretty dominant for a while and it’s good that the power is shifting this year.”
Lake City 4, Timberline 3 (SO): For the third straight playoff game, regulation time wasn’t enough to decide the contest for the Timberwolves, who needed overtime to defeat Centennial in a state-tournament play-in game and two overtimes to knock off Highland in Thursday’s first-round match.
Freshman Maddison Ward scored a pair of goals in regulation play, collecting her first 3 minutes into the game and breaking a 2-2 tie in the second half, dribbling past a hard-charging Timberline goalkeeper to score on an open net in the 46th minute.
The Wolves’ Allegra Weeks collected a through pass to score the equalizing goal with 4 minutes left in regulation play.
In the shootout, sophomore goalkeeper Tiegan Horton made a pair of saves, snuffing Christine Pinney on Timberline’s fifth of five penalty kicks, setting up Meaghan Bare to score the game-winner.
“I just tried to stay calm,” Horton said. “Sometimes you can get a good read on where they’re going to try to shoot by the way they set up and the angle they take. I just saw the ball well and reacted.”