POST FALLS — With a 3-0 win in the 5A Region 1 girls soccer tournament championship match, the Post Falls Trojans are in unfamiliar territory — even if it’s only a few miles away from their campus.
Sophomore Kelcie Hedge had two goals and an assist to lead the top-seeded Trojans to a victory in the regional title game over the second-seeded Lake City Timberwolves on Tuesday at Post Falls High and send Post Falls to its first state tournament in school history.
“This year, our No. 1 goal as a team was to make it to state,” Post Falls coach Briggs Anderson said. “That’s what we wanted to achieve and there’s been a bunch of milestones along the way. We’ve achieved our goals — so right now, everything else is a bonus. We’re going to go in with that attitude. The girls don’t know what to expect, and neither do I as a coach — at least at the high school level. We’re going to play the way we did today (at state) and hope for the best.”
Post Falls (11-6) will open the state tournament against the third-place team from District 3 (Boise area) next Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Coeur d’Alene High.
Lake City (6-6-4) moves to a play-in match on Saturday at Middleton High against the fifth-place team from District 3.
Post Falls, which moved up from the 4A classification in 2006, hadn’t won a regional tournament match until a 1-0 win over Lewiston last Thursday.
“This is a great opportunity for Post Falls,” Hedge said. “We’d never been to state, or even won a regional game up until this year. We’re going to have to play our best at state and give it our all.”
Hedge gave the Trojans a 1-0 lead on an assist from Lexi Smith in the 29th minute and extended the advantage on an unassisted goal in the 57th minute.
“We played 100 percent as a team today,” Anderson said. “They worked for each other and our defensive line held them without any goals. That’s another one of our goals — to keep that back line as stout as possible, and with all of our forwards being freshmen, it’s hard for them to step into a game of this magnitude and not feel the pressure, but they didn’t today. Add that all up and it’s a team win.”
Lake City’s closest chance at scoring came early in the second half as a Meaghan Bare shot hit off the crossbar and was saved by Trojan goalkeeper Sam Runkle in the 43rd minute. Erica Simpson capped the scoring for Post Falls in the 77th minute on an assist from Hedge.
“We had plenty of opportunities,” Lake City coach Matt Ruchti said. “Over and over, we had chances. I don’t know where No. 9 (Hedge) plays her club ball, but she scored two goals and was in on the third. They had a couple of players that really stepped up their game today and had a real impact. I think they got the ball in our defensive third three times in the second half and scored twice.”
Lake City has advanced to the previous three state tournaments, winning the consolation title in 2009.
“We had the momentum today,” Ruchti said. “But when you have it, you’ve got to take advantage of it and we didn’t do that today. In the game of soccer, it’s tough when that happens because things usually start to break down.”
First half — 1, PF, Kelcie Hedge (Lexi Smith), 29:00. Second half — 2, PF, Hedge (unassisted), 57:00. 3, PF, Erica Simpson (Hedge), 77:00.
Shots on goal — LC 5, PF 7.
Saves — LC, Tiegan Horton 3; PF, Sam Runkle 4.