POST FALLS — You don’t have to remind the Post Falls boys soccer team about how the final two weeks played out in 2016.
They remember and weren’t going to let that happen again.
Now, the Trojans are back at the state 5A tournament for the first time since 2013.
Diego Esquivel scored on two first half penalty kicks for the Trojans in a 2-0 win over the Coeur d’Alene Vikings in the 5A Region 1 soccer championship, advancing to state for the first time since 2013.
“We had to put it away early,” Esquival said. “That’s what our plan was to put the match away early and sat back and got it done. I’ve been waiting four years for this. My freshman year, we were really close, but didn’t get it done.”
Coeur d’Alene (9-3-2) will face Timberline High of Boise (11-7-1) in a state play-in match on Saturday at Walker Field in Lewiston.
Post Falls opens at state against Rocky Mountain High (9-3-5) of Meridian next Thursday at Rocky Mountain.
Post Falls (10-3) beat Coeur d’Alene 4-0 on Sept. 23 and lost 2-1 at Coeur d’Alene on Sept. 28.
“Coeur d’Alene was playing six guys back consistenly and we knew that’s what they were going to do,” Lawson said. “We probably should have put a few more chances away in that first half. In the second half, our goal was to manage the game and clock. And our boys did a great job of keeping the possession in the second half.”
Last year, Post Falls lost to Coeur d’Alene 2-1 in the regional opener, then had to watch as teams in state tournament played matches at Post Falls High.
“Last year, we made some mistakes that cost us dearly,” Lawson said. “They haven’t forgotten for one second. In the game earlier, we felt we let that get away from us. And they played an organized game today. The boys were hungry to start knocking off the trophies one by one, and they had a goal in mind and got it done today.”
Shawn McKeeken had six saves for Coeur d’Alene.
“Congratulations to Post Falls,” Coeur d’Alene coach Jeff Lake said. “I think they’ll have a good run down at state next week. Hopefully, we’ll be able to join them. I’m not disappointed in my squad — I thought they played a great game — and had multiple chances. What I’m disappointed is that there was some things that happened inside the match that were out of our hands and made it spin one way and we were up against it. We’re disappointed that we didn’t win the game, but we’re proud of the way we played. I feel positive about Saturday.”
First half — 1, PF, Diego Esquivel (penalty kick), 23:02. 2, PF, Esquivel (penalty kick), 29:40. Second half — none.
Shots on goal — Cd’A 6, PF 10.
Saves — Cd’A, Shawn McKeeken 6; PF, Tanner McCliment-Call 4.