The Lake City girls soccer team endured a few anxious moments early in its State 5A tournament opener Thursday morning.
Senior offensive leader Havana Johnson received a yellow card when she couldn’t avoid a collision with Highland goalie Tamra Diehl.
Johnson left the match for 18 minutes. By the time she returned, the Timberwolves, in a steady rain, were on their way to a 4-0 victory on their home field.
Four minutes after Johnson left, her replacement, freshman Madyson Smith, had a moment she’ll treasure for some time. A shot from Lily Scott bounced off Highland freshman backup goalie Aubrey Hymas and Smith was in perfect position to knock in the rebound.
In the second half, Johnson scored her 87th career goal and Hannah Clark added two. Scott had two assists.
“With Havana getting that yellow card, everybody realized we needed to step up and be better,” Clark said.
LC coach Matt Ruchti thought the wet conditions contributed to Johnson’s collision.
“She tried to slow up but couldn’t slow up in time,” he said. “Bang bang plays like that with a goalkeeper, the calls tend to go against the attacker in that moment. She didn’t mean anything by it. That changed how we used her (the rest of the match).”
LC’s steady pressure broke through Highland’s defense.
LC (12-3-2) takes on two-time defending state champ Centennial (15-0-3) in the semifinals Friday at 11:30. Centennial had to go to overtime to beat Mountain View 2-1.
The T-Wolves lost on sudden-death penalty kicks to Centennial in the state final last year after 100 minutes of play and one round of penalty kicks couldn’t decide the winner.
Smith, who might be 5-foot tall standing on her tippy toes, came up big when LC needed somebody to step up following Johnson’s yellow card. Smith and Clark were junior varsity players to start the season before Ruchti promoted them to varsity.
The T-Wolves dominated the run of play in both halves. They had a couple more opportunities in the first half after Smith’s goal but went to intermission ahead 1-0.
LC finished with 13 shots on goal to Highland’s six.
Ruchti told his team during the break that their continued pressure would be rewarded.
“I told them to stick with what we do and it’ll all work out,” Ruchti said. “What I liked is we kept being clean on the attacking end.”
Johnson, who had to play less aggressively the final 52 minutes to avoid a red card and ejection, used her speed to streak up the left side 13 minutes into the second half. She took a pass from Caitlin Barber and struck the ball crisply. It sailed above the approaching goalie into the upper right net.
Clark scored goals five minutes apart. She fought through Highland defenders. On her second goal, she broke through contact, deftly avoided tripping to the slick grass and knocked the ball through from 10 yards out.
“I’m just really happy that I got to be a part of it and that Matt (Ruchti) was so kind to bring me up (off JV),” Clark said.
In the other openers, Timberline topped Madison 4-0 and Rocky Mountain edged Boise 1-0.
— The Sandpoint Bulldogs opened the State 4A tournament with a 1-0 victory over Preson at the Idaho Falls Soccer Complex. No other details were available.
Sandpoint advances to play Twin Falls on Friday.
— Korbie Bowman scored two goals to power Marsh Valley to a 3-0 victory over the Timberlake Tigers in the State 3A tourney at Sunway Soccer Complex in Twin Falls.
Timberlake will play a loser-out match against Teton on Friday.
— Cali Shipman scored three goals and Cece McAfee added a goal and three assists to propel Coeur d’Alene Charter to a 7-0 win over Filer in a State 3A opener at Twin Falls. CdA Charter will play Weiser on Friday.
Cameron Dance scored a pair of goals and the Coeur d’Alene Vikings rolled to a 5-1 victory over Bonneville in a State 5A opener in Post Falls.
The Vikings will play Centennial on Friday.
— Also in the 5A tourney, Boise knocked Lake City into the loser’s bracket with a 4-1 win at Post Falls. LC will play Hillcrest on Friday.
— Blackfoot edged Sandpoint 2-1 in a State 4A opener in Idaho Falls.
Sandpoint will play a loser-out match against Twin Falls on Friday.
— Bonners Ferry slipped past Community School 2-1 in the State 3A tourney in Twin Falls. The Badgers advance to play Weiser on Friday.
Coeur d’Alene Charter’s Landon Chang, Jackson Ricks and Jacob Shoup finished 1-2-3, respectively, to guide the Panthers boys to the 3A District I title in Priest River.
Abigail Peightal finished first and the Timberlake Tigers girls won the district title, easily outdistancing CdA Charter.
— Austin Byrer and Joey Perez finished 1-2 and Lewiston breezed to the District I-II 5A-4A boys title at Farragut State Park in Athol.
Sandpoint’s girls, led by Katherine Kaul’s second-place effort, rolled to the girls district title. Moscow’s Katherine Ruck won the race.
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