ST. MARIES Early in what became a 4-3 loss last Saturday, Sept. 30, the Grangeville boys had taken a commanding lead.
GHS led 2-0 on the road against a St. Maries team that had skunked the Bulldogs two weeks prior, in large part because senior Ryan Ruklic had finally returned from injury.
Ruklic missed the first seven games before returning and scoring the lone Grangeville goal Sept. 23 at Bonners Ferry — and he tallied twice against St. Maries, with through passes setting up a couple of breakaway chances on which he capitalized early on.
“It was one of the best games we’ve ever had,” GHS boys head coach Joel Gomez said. “We want to be healthy for districts and I think we’re ready.”
St. Maries struck back to tie the score at 2-2 before halftime, and during the second half, Grangeville extended the lead to 3-2 on Ethan Bonn’s free kick.
“I want to play all our best guys all the time for the district tournament, so that moves Ethan to goalkeeper,” Gomez said. “He looks great and he’s a natural at it.”
St. Maries won the girls game 5-1. The Grangeville girls “did well in the first half,” GHS girls head coach John Cuffe said, “but we faded in the second half...It’s the size of our squad that has hampered us this season.”
Naomi Connolley scored the goal on “an individual effort,” Cuffe said, but also sustained an ankle injury that sidelined her later in the game.
Coming — Grangeville is set to play Priest River Friday, Oct. 6, at Moscow and at home Saturday, Oct. 7, against Timberlake. Game times Friday are slated for 10 a.m. and noon, with game times Saturday set for noon and 2 p.m. The district tournaments begin Oct. 9.