First GHS soccer squad takes the field

Grangeville’s Brenda Gomez (left) and Tessa Godfrey contended for a loose ball during a two-on-two drill held Monday, Aug. 8, at the first-ever GHS soccer practice, which was held in the open area to the west of the football field — which is where the soccer game field will be located.

GRANGEVILLE — It’s soccer season.

Soccer practice started statewide on Monday, Aug. 8, and a 6 a.m. session at Grangeville High School marked the first time the Bulldogs have taken the field for this sport.

At its June 20 meeting, the Mountain View School District 244 board approved starting high school soccer this fall, knowing that the teams would face scheduling challenges. GHS activities director Matt Dame told the board he thought scheduling eight to 10 games for each of the boys and girls soccer teams would be possible this fall. To get 12, “I’d be shooting for the moon,” he told the board.

As of Wednesday morning, Aug. 10, the GHS webpage listed six boys soccer games, with the additions of a 6 p.m. Aug. 30 contest at Orofino and a 4 p.m. contest against Timberlake Aug. 25 at Orofino.

As of the Friday before the first official GHS soccer practices, Dame had four boys soccer games scheduled for this fall: noon Aug. 20 at Moscow, 6 p.m. Sept. 6 vs. Orofino, 2 p.m. Sept. 24 at St. Maries and 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at Orofino. Two girls soccer games had been scheduled as of Aug. 5: noon Aug. 20 at Moscow, and noon Sept. 24 at St. Maries.

The Bulldogs will not be eligible for postseason competition this season, but in future years, will compete in District I-II, from which the top two girls soccer teams qualify for state under the current structure, which is determined by the Idaho High School Activities Association. Under IHSAA rules this fall, the boys district champion will qualify and the runner-up will be able to qualify for the state tournament by way of a play-in game to be held Oct. 15 at Lewiston High School.

Grangeville will compete at the 3A level. Last year’s 3A state tournament featured teams out of Teton, Emmett, Bonners Ferry, Weiser, Filer, Marsh Valley and Sugar-Salem, as well as a school that competes at the 1AD2 level in other sports, Sun Valley’s Community School. The Bonners Ferry soccer boys have qualified out of the district every year since winning a 3A state championship in 2007.

As a late comer, Grangeville wasn’t able to join a league this fall, but schools from across north Idaho could feature on the calendar in 2017. Under IHSAA rules, high school soccer teams are allowed up to 16 games per season, and for soccer, 3A is the smallest classification, with schools of up to 639 students.

Grangeville will likely move to join the Intermountain League for future seasons. The boys side of the Intermountain includes two schools GHS already plays regularly in other sports — Orofino and St. Maries — as well as Bonners Ferry, Priest River and Timberlake.

On the girls side, two Intermountain League teams qualified for state last year. Both won first-round games, with Coeur d’Alene Charter ultimately falling to Weiser in the championship game and Timberlake finishing third. The girls side of the Intermountain League also includes Bonners Ferry, Kellogg, Priest River and St. Maries.

In addition to the seven likely league foes, the higher classification schools out of District II – Lewiston and Moscow – may figure in to Grangeville’s soccer schedules in the future.

On Aug. 3, Dame told the Free Press he is still working on adding games for this fall. When he posts an updated schedule, that information will be available through the Free Press as well as

Dame also told the board that scheduling soccer games is a year-long challenge, as it is with football and basketball. When “football season ends, I’m already scheduling for next fall,” he said at the June 20 school board meeting. “The same goes for basketball.”

As of Friday, Aug. 5, the website Dame uses to publicize the GHS sports schedules listed one boys basketball game and five girls basketball games. Dame told the Free Press the site was up-to-date, including basketball schedules, and suggested an unknown technical problem may have been preventing the full schedules from displaying.

The GHS volleyball page listed 17 regular season dates including a four-game home stand from Sept. 8 to Sept. 20 against Cascade, Colton, Prairie and Orofino as well as the annual home varsity tournament Sept. 17.

The GHS football squad will open on Aug. 26 at Moscow, with home games slated Sept. 9 against Clarkston, Sept. 23 against Parma and Oct. 7 against St. Maries. Road games are set for Sept. 16 at McCall, Sept. 29 at Lewiston and Oct. 14 at Orofino. Grangeville’s Sept. 2 football opponent dropped and a replacement game has not yet been scheduled.

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