ST. MARIES — Mia Rioux scored three goals and the Grangeville High School soccer girls beat St. Maries 3-0 on the first day of the 2021 season. She opened the scoring with a first half free kick from just outside the box, then netted a 20-yarder off a pass from Bella Dame, who worked her way into open space then delivered a fine pass. Rioux scored the hat trick goal from similar range.

“We have a developing team,” coach Suzanne Acton said. “We have more players who haven’t played soccer or haven’t played lots of soccer than players who have, so this was a real telling game. Those girls who are new to soccer, they really stepped up to the ball.”

One of the freshmen, offensive midfielder Sienna Wagner, made a fine defensive play to preserve the 1-0 lead.

“We didn’t play St. Maries last year because of covid,” Acton said. “Every time we had the game scheduled for them, there was a lockdown type of thing. So we hadn’t seen them and didn’t know how they would be, and they put up a really good game. They were passing really well. They had a strong offense, a strong defense and their goalie was really good. The first half of the game could have gone any way. There was a turning point in our play, when St. Maries passed it up to two of their forwards on their left side, which turned into a one-on-one versus [goalie] Talia Brown. ... And out of nowhere comes Sienna Wagner, and she just chases that girl, runs her down, and gets the ball away from her. Talia gets a hold of it, and there was never even a shot.”

Acton said that had a goal been scored, it would have changed the character of the game. “I think our girls stayed up mentally after that, and then we got the next two goals — so it was just a really nice way to start the season, I think.”

The boys team lost 4-1, having led much of the first half after a goal by senior Dalton Dennis, who received a pass near midfield and contested his way past a defensive midfielder and freed himself for a left-footed curler from just inside the box.

“This was a lot of firsts for me, but I liked the energy of the team,” coach Jason Weber said. “They tied it just right prior to half, and they added three in the second half. We built really good momentum during the first half, and maybe eight to 10 minutes of the second half. We got fatigued at that point.”

Next, Grangeville hosts Coeur d’Alene Charter Aug. 26 at GHS, with the girls at 2 p.m. and the boys to follow at 4 p.m.

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