SANDPOINT — After watching Lakeland park the bus against Sandpoint’s boys soccer team for nearly two antagonizing halves, something had to give.
For Sandpoint, that something came in the form of Sims Macdonald taking his defender one-on-one along the right side, turning the corner and serving a pass towards the near post in the 65th minute.
There, four feet in front of the goal, freshman Stirling Roget found the ball in the ensuing chaos and ricocheted his shot into the back right corner of the net, breaking a scoreless tie and giving Sandpoint its first league win.
“How they scored was exactly what [assistant coach Daniel Anderson] and I told them to do,” Sandpoint boys soccer head coach Tanner French said. “It funny it’s kind of cliche to do what your coach tells you to, but it’s exactly what worked. It’s the only thing that worked on that team. It was a frustrating day, but a win is a win.”
For the first 64 minutes, the Hawks crammed all 11 boys on their side of the field, baiting the Bulldogs’ younger forwards to make a move.
To their credit, the Bulldogs tried cracking the puzzle, sending service after service either too low, skying over the goal, just a bit wide or into the arms of Lakeland goalkeeper Bradley Munson to no avail. Sandpoint head coach Tanner French made substitutions left and right in the first half, trying to find those guys who could solve Lakeland’s puzzle.
All in all, the Bulldogs out-shot the Hawks 18-2 — and even Lakeland’s meager chances on offense were barely alarming to Sandpoint’s defense, which used skill and seniority from Tiegen Edmundson and Chris Koch stop any of Lakeland’s attempts at offense before they became a real threat.
Even though this defense-heavy tactic isn’t new for the Hawks, French believes this game gave his team experience for future meetings between the league foes.
While he doesn’t expect the Hawks to change their game plan between now and their next meeting, the first-year head coach is confident the Bulldogs will have a different approach next time.
“I would expect us to be a completely different team the next time we play [Lakeland],” French said.
From this point forward, the Bulldogs will look like a different team.
Junior Zander Moore reassumed his position at striker after playing in the back line over the past few games. Senior Braedon Dressel made his season debut, giving Sandpoint not only athleticism and quickness up front, but also experience.
“[Dressel] extremely athletic and once he get a little more soccer sense into him after taking time off, he’ll be a great contributor,” French said.
Sandpoint (2-3-1) plays at Lewiston this Saturday at noon.
Second half — 1, Sandpoint, Stirling Roget (Sims Macdonald), 65:00.
Shots on goal — Sandpoint 18, Lakeland 2.
Saves — Sandpoint, Roman Jiles 2. Lakeland, Diego Escobar, 16.