Photo by Andrew Ottoson
Grangeville's Hunter Connolley scored the game winning goal against the Lewiston JV Sept. 12 at Orofino.
As of Wednesday, September 14, 2016
OROFINO The Grangeville soccer squad has been voted eligible for the district tournament, GHS soccer organizers said Monday night, Sept. 12. Before this week, the Bulldogs had been operating on the idea that they’d be eligible for their first post-season next fall.
They have five games left in their regular season, with road trips to Priest River and St. Maries each of the next two Saturdays looming larger now in light of their post-season prospects.
On the field, they finished off a sweep of Orofino with a 7-2 win in rainy weather at GHS on Sept. 6, and followed up with a win at Orofino that moves the squad over .500 for the first time.
At Orofino, Hunter Connolley hammered a short shot into the back of the Lewiston JV net during the 59th minute Monday night, Sept. 12, and with it gave Grangeville a 3-2 lead. The Bulldogs had trailed 2-0 in a flash, with the junior Bengals roofing one shot for a goal and heading in another during the first six minutes.
GHS clawed back, with Ethan Bonn sailing a well-placed shot from the left wing over the head of the LHS keeper during the 11th minute, and with Ryan Ruklic heading home a cross from Jesus Perez.
Lewiston JV took 13 shots during the first half and totaled 22 during the contest, with Grangeville's Mauricio Valle saving 17 of those to give the Bulldogs a fighting chance.
GHS found offense mainly on the wings, with Amador Perez generating many crosses from possession on the left flank, but the Bulldogs finally broke through with a run through the middle, with Connolley powering his way to the front of the goal and snapping the winner past Lewiston's keeper midway through the second half.
During the Sept. 6 win, Grangeville notched the opening goal on a one-time crack from the foot of Alejandro Kopczynski to the back of the Maniacs net by way of a pass from Connolley during the 18th minute.
“Our passing and shot placement was much better this game by everyone on the roster," coach Mike Connolley said.
Coming — Grangeville (3-2) will visit Priest River at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17. According to the GHS schedulestar.com page, the district tournament will be played Oct. 8-13 at Coeur d’Alene High School.