SANDPOINT The first of the games that really matter kicks off today, when No. 2 seed Moscow faces No. 1 seed Sandpoint in the championship game of the 4A Region 1 girls soccer tournament at 3:30 p.m. at Pine St. Field.
Moscow beat No. 3 seed Lakeland 2-0 in the loser-out game on Monday, earning the right to face the host Bulldogs, with the winner advancing to the 4A state playoffs and the loser going home.
The Bulldogs (9-2-1) rolled through league play unscathed, beating Moscow 4-1 and 3-0 in the process. But district championship games, especially in a sport like soccer, have proven the only thing predictable about them is their unpredictability.
Junior Riley Walkington leads the Bulldogs with 11 goals, while Casey Shaha (nine) and Emi Lynch (five) are also tough to stop in a three-pronged attack. Hadley Marshall and Jordie Breeden have combined for nine assists, and the Bulldogs have controlled possession in most of their games this season.
The key in championship games is to get an early lead, as it often takes the pressure off and allows the leading team to attack more and push forward for insurance goals.
The winner advances to face the No. 2 seed from District 4 next Thursday, at the 4A state soccer tournament in Caldwell.