The Sandpoint girls soccer team tied regional powerhouse Lake City 1-1, then fell 1-0 to Coeur d’Alene while experimenting with a different formation during its annual preseason jamboree at Lake City on Wednesday evening.
During the doubleheader, each of the three teams played against the other two for 40 minutes each. In this limited, 80 minutes of playing time, however, Sandpoint head coach Conor Baranski saw enough positive takeaways from the team’s chemistry and defense to feel optimistic about the upcoming season.
“All in all, I was pleased with the team, as that’s the first time they’ve played together all season,” Baranski wrote in an email afterwards. “We clearly need to get fitter, but the vibe among the team is really positive and uplifting. It made me excited for the season.”
Kylie Williams was responsible for Sandpoint’s lone goal against Lake City, which was not only the only goal of the jamboree, but also her first while playing on the varsity level.
Meanwhile on defense, the Bulldogs took the first step of many towards replacing a formidable defense from last year’s state runner-up team. Returner Emma Thielbahr spearheaded a back line that featured newcomers Kelsey Cessna, Kate McGregor and Kendall Rubright. They protected goalkeeper Hattie Larson, who will assume near-full-time starting duties for the first time in her career.
“Our defense was impressive for never having played with each other,” Baranski said. “Three out of the four of them are new to the team, but they were great.”
While the value of preseason jamborees like this depend on the beholder, it is worth noting that the Bulldogs will play both Lake City and Coeur d’Alene this season. The Bulldogs will play at Coeur d’Alene on Aug. 27 and will host Lake City on Sept. 5 this year.
Sandpoint will kick off its season at Lewiston this Saturday at noon.