Sandpoint suffers devastating loss in district championship

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(Photo courtesy of JASON DUCHOW PHOTOGRAPHY) Junior defender Chris Koch battles a Lakeland player for possession of the ball Tuesday at Pine Street Field.

MOSCOW — Sandpoint’s season came to an end in the worst way possible Thursday night.

Boys soccer lost in overtime to rival Moscow in the 4A Region 1 championship after holding a 2-1 lead in the 80th minute of the match.

“Going up a goal with 20 minutes left,” Sandpoint head coach Tanner French said, “and then having Moscow tie it up with the last kick of regulation is completely demoralizing.”

French said the game was 60-40 in Sandpoint’s favor in terms of possession and his team did everything they needed to earn the victory.

“The goal for this season was to get to state,” French said. “They got their in my mind regardless of the actual result today. They were there, they had it.”

The Bears scored first in the 10th minute of the match but junior defender Chris Koch tied the game in the 31st minute to make it 1-1 at the half.

Junior forward Zander Moore put the Bulldogs ahead in the 59th minute and Sandpoint clung to the one goal lead until stoppage time when Moscow was able to find the back of the net.

“There was two and a half minutes of stoppage time,” French said. “That’s what the ref told me and there was definitely more than that so that was unfortunate.”

Then in overtime, the Bears crushed the Bulldogs hopes of making it to state by scoring a goal eight minutes into the period to end it.

“Without a doubt we were the better team,” French said. “We were the less fortunate team in the end.

“I think the nerves and emotions took over in the last couple minutes of regulation and we made a couple mental mistakes paired together with a series of unfortunate events.”

French was particularly pleased with the play of seniors Tiegen Edmundson and Nate Couch.

“They understood it was win or never play for Sandpoint again and they absolutely put on a spectacle of hard work,” he said.

Sandpoint finished with an overall record of 7-8-1 in French’s first season as the head coach.

French said his team continued to improve throughout the season and he was encouraged by the numerous underclassmen that played a major role on the team.

“They will remember this and Sandpoint will be a new team come next year,” he said. “The boys enjoyed it. I know they did cause you could see it everyday and I think its a large step when you talk about turning a program around.”

French was proud of the effort the Bulldogs showed this year and he is looking forward to getting back on the pitch in 2020.

“My goal for next year is to win state,” he said. “We will have a completely different team. We will have I think 16 returners and a majority of those aren’t even upperclassmen still so the future is bright but their hearts are heavy right now for Sandpoint boys soccer.”

First half — 1, Moscow, Toby Searcy-Jorgensen, 10:00. 1, Sandpoint, Chris Koch (Zander Moore), 31:00.

Second half — 2, Sandpoint, Zander Moore (unassisted), 59:00. 2, Moscow, Neo Ting, 80:00.

Overtime — 3, Moscow, Jacob Helmke, 8:00.

Shots on goal — Sandpoint, 15, Moscow, 6.

Saves — Sandpoint, Roman Jiles 5, Moscow, Finn Benson, 7.

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