COEUR d'ALENE - Facing the possibility of coming up short of the 5A Inland Empire League boys soccer championship, the Post Falls Trojans went on the attack in the second half, outscoring the Coeur d'Alene Vikings 3-0 in the final 40 minutes for a 4-1 win on Tuesday at Coeur d'Alene High.
Coeur d'Alene (6-2-2, 3-1 5A IEL), which beat Post Falls 1-0 in Post Falls on Sept. 4, could have clinched at least a tie for the league title, with the 5A Region 1 tournament starting in two weeks.
Post Falls (9-1, 4-1) broke a 1-1 tie two minutes into the second half as Brady Ulen scored on a penalty kick to give his team the lead for good.
"I think it was the fact that if we lost, we wouldn't have won league," Ulen said. "We won it last year and wanted to keep the tradition going.
We’ve got 11 seniors on this team and we were all a little fired up coming into the game today. We didn’t want to lose, and it propelled us through to get the win.”
Post Falls has only a match at Lake City on Sept. 27 remaining in league. Coeur d’Alene hosts Lewiston next Tuesday and concludes the regular season by hosting Lake City on Sept. 29. Should the two teams remain tied at the end of the regular season — and if they both sweep Lake City and Lewiston — the next tiebreaker is how teams fared against 4A IEL schools — with Post Falls currently 3-0 and Coeur d’Alene 0-1-2 against Lakeland, Moscow and Sandpoint.
“I thought we came out and played today,” Post Falls coach Gabe Lawson said. “We had some chances the last time, but were sloppy. We really locked them down on defense and our goal is to limit the possession. Today, we were a little more successful finding the feet of our defensemen.”
Graison Le opened the scoring for Coeur d’Alene in the 12th minute on a free kick, but Post Falls evened the score less than a minute later on a Reece Knudsen goal. Post Falls held Coeur d’Alene to three shots on goal.
“We’re definitely disappointed with the result,” Coeur d’Alene coach Jeff Lake said. “We made some opportunities, but didn’t quite finish. They’re a good team and definitely took it to us in the second half.”
Reece Jackson (60th minute) and JD Sullivan (79th) also had goals for Post Falls, which travels to Sandpoint on Saturday.
“We basically made some adjustments in the second half and tried to get our forwards a little more up the field and get some more width across the field,” Lawson said. “We felt that by doing that, we were going to break through. Our two high guys (Timmy Mueller and Jackson) were getting down the field, but couldn’t find each other. We played them a little tighter in the second half and were able to find those seams.”
Keagan Shillington had four saves for Coeur d’Alene, which hosts Sandpoint on Thursday. In the previous matchup, Shillington had five saves on 13 shots by Post Falls.
“Keagan had a heck of a game the last time,” Lawson said. “Whether he was going to today, he wasn’t going to save those balls today. We had to make and give ourselves opportunities to score at a little higher percentage and didn’t want him to come out and showcase his skills.”
First half — 1, Cd’A, Graison Le (free kick), 12:00. 2, PF, Reece Knudsen (unassisted), 13:00. Second half — 3, PF, Brady Ulen (penalty kick), 42:00. 4, PF, Reece Jackson (unassisted), 60:00. 5, PF, JD Sullivan (Timmy Mueller), 79:00.
Shots on goal — PF 7, Cd’A 4.
Saves — PF, Noah Gondo, 3; Cd’A, Keagan Shillington, 3.