COEUR d’ALENE — At this point in the season, experience matters.
On the field. Against an opponent.
All those moments matter.
In Tuesday’s 5A Region 1 girls soccer championship, it was Lake City that capitalized on its moments, beating visiting Coeur d’Alene 3-0 at the Irma Anderl Soccer Complex to advance to the state 5A tournament for a 10th straight year.
“It was exactly what we thought it was going to be,” Lake City coach Matt Ruchti said. “To think that we were going to come in and handle our crosstown rival with all those good players over there, we knew we’d have to prepare to grind one out and fight it out. And that’s what we did today. They capitalized on moments and that was our theme for the week, to make sure we capitalize on those individual moments and we’ll have some team success. And that’s exactly what they did today and have been doing the last few weeks.”
Junior Madyson Smith and senior Bridget Rieken scored in the first half to give Lake City a 2-0 halftime lead. Senior Chloe Teets converted on a penalty kick in the 74th minute for the final score for Lake City (13-2), which faces Eagle (10-7) in the opening round at state on Oct. 18 at the Idaho Falls Soccer Complex.
Lake City, which won its six straight regional title, enters state on an eight-match win streak, with its last loss coming to Mead (2-1) on Sept. 12 at home.
“Watching and seeing how they reacted after losing to Mead here at home, and knowing and thinking we were a better team, and we didn’t produce or grind out a win, I think that set us going forward,” Ruchti said. “We kind of changed some ideas going forward and got back to spending more time on the attacking end. And it livened up the group, and I’ve got to be a better coach, and we kind of found our way.”
Smith opened the scoring in the 14th minute off a rebound. Rieken added a goal in the 26th minute, heading in a corner kick by Teets.
“Those players have been having those moments since they’ve been a part of this group,” Ruchti said. “Especially Bridget and Chloe. It’s what they do. It’s fitting that those two finish their senior year on this field with another district championship. They’re 4 for 4, and they’re winners. That’s what they are. They’ve been in a lot of big soccer games since they’ve been here, and in the club world. And they know what it takes to win games, and they expect to win. That’s just what they’ve been doing.”
Lake City outscored Coeur d’Alene 9-1 in the two regular-season games.
“It was our third time playing them, so we knew it was going to be a tough battle,” Teets said. “It’s definitely hard coming off such a good club season with those girls (at Coeur d’Alene) and it’s hard when they know what we’re trying to do, and we know them.”
“It was just another game, but it was my last game on this field, so it was kind of special,” Rieken said. “It’s been one of our best seasons on the field. When we get on the field, we know what the other is going to do and it’s been a special year.”
Coeur d’Alene (8-7-1) advances to a state play-in match, and will face the fifth-place finisher from District 3 on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Walker Field in Lewiston.
“Lake City’s a great team,” Coeur d’Alene coach Andy Vredenburg said. “They’re really well coached. They press really hard, and it makes things tough to get your gameplan in order. Congratuations to Lake City. The first half, we didn’t play our game. In the second half, we kind of showed up and played the gameplan we wanted to. We had a couple of good opportunities and it was too bad we couldn’t have gotten one or two of them in. Had we done that, it might have been a different outcome.”
Lily Foster had 13 saves for Coeur d’Alene.
“How we played Lake City, especially in the second half when we had them on their heels, I felt gives us confidence going into Saturday,” Vredenburg said. “Even though things didn’t go our way, I’m proud of how the girls finished the game.”
First half — 1, LC, Madyson Smith (unassisted), 14:40. 2, LC, Bridget Rieken (Chloe Teets), 21:00. Second half — 3, LC, Teets (penalty kick), 74:00.
Shots on goal — Cd’A 11, LC 19.
Saves — Cd’A, Lily Foster, 13; LC, Hailey Jo Parks, 11.