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Post Falls advances to state boys soccer final

Gabe Lawson jokes that he’s aged a lot in 10 years as Post Falls High School’s boys soccer coach. He recalls a 3-14 record in his first season and being “the doormat of everyone.”

Lawson’s program has come of age in recent years, and the Trojans on Friday took another step toward their ultimate goal by outplaying Skyline 2-0 in the State 5A tournament semifinals at Post Falls High.

The Trojans (16-1-1) will face Boise (17-2-0), a 1-0 winner over Mountain View, for the championship today at 11 a.m. at Coeur d’Alene High. Boise blanked Post Falls 3-0 in the semifinals en route to winning the 2011 state title.

“We’ve been working at this for 10 years,” said Lawson, whose team has made three of the last four state tournaments. “For us to make that transition over the years, it’s been challenging but it’s been fun.”

Junior forward Timmy Mueller scored one goal in each half and the defense limited the Grizzlies to just two shots.

The 6-foot-2 Mueller shielded off a smaller defender and, while falling, beat the keeper with a drive from 10 yards out in the 17th minute.

Late in the second half, Mueller beat a Skyline player for a ball 30 yards from the goal, dribbled past another defender and connected from 8 yards out.

“The (first) was just a hard-earned goal, not really a lot of skill,” said Mueller, who has 70 career goals. “I used my long legs to my advantage (on the second goal) and I just step around people.”

Mueller and his teammates had numerous scoring opportunities, with Mueller hitting the right post and the crossbar. He used his powerful leg as the kicker on the football team earlier this season, but stopped playing a couple of weeks ago because his shots in soccer were soaring over the crossbar.

Sophomore goalie Noah Gondo made a diving save on a Skyline shot 17 minutes into the second half. Five minutes prior to Mueller’s second goal, the ball squirted out of Gondo’s grasp and was rolling toward the goal mouth before being cleared away by senior Brady Ulen.

“I wasn’t very happy with how we played,” Lawson said. “Some of that was the (breezy) conditions. Anytime the ball was up in the air, you’re trying to gauge where it’s going to go. We had the run of play, but it was a little sloppy.

“We certainly don’t want to do that against Boise or we’ll have problems.”