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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of  October 24 - 30, 2001


Wood River girls 
look to repeat

As state soccer champions

All fall, people have wanted to know if the Wood River High School girlsí varsity soccer team can win it all again.

Last yearís state trophy was not even cold before fans began sizing up the 2000 A-2 state champion Wolverines for another run at the title.

The good news for the Wolverines (14-3-1) is defending their state title is very possible. Theyíre back in the state tournament. The bad news is it is going to be very hard.

Only one team (Blackfoot in 1998-99) has repeated as champions in the seven years the tournament has been held. Wood River can equal Blackfoot and become the first three-time state champ at this level.

"Itís harder to repeat than win it the first time," Wood River coach Doug Stouffer said. "Thereís more pressure. Teams are looking at us as the one to beat."

The squads with seemingly the best chance of unseating the current champs are Weiser (10-2-7), McCall/Donnelly (14-2-2), South Fremont (12-0-2) and The Community School (10-7).

With the exception of South Fremont they are all teams Hailey is familiar with.

During its undefeated 17-0-2 season, Wood River knocked off two of these teams at stateóbeating Weiser in a close 3-0 match, and rousting McCall 5-0 in the 2000 championship.

Stouffer recalled, "The Weiser game was very tough. By far our toughest at state. It was scoreless at the half. They have some speed, they are disciplined and physical."

Still, Wood River is on a serious roll. They enter state on a nine-game win streak in which they have outscored opponents 59 to 5, including five shutouts.

In a do-or-die tournament in which one loss means no gold, Wood River opens up against Weiser at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Buhl High School.

There is no underestimating what a win over Weiser means to Wood Riverís state hopes. Historically, both of Wood Riverís previous state titles (1995 and 2000) hinged on beating Weiseró2-1 in the 1995 state opener and 3-0 last year.

The winner advances to a semi-final against the winner of Marsh Valley (12-4-3)óBonners Ferry (4-4-3) at 12:30 p.m. Friday. The championship contest is 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The bottom half of the bracket features The Community School (10-7), South Fremont (12-0-2), Preston (9-5-1) and McCall/Donnelly (14-2-2).

"I think the girls know what it takes to win state. They know the pressure. But the experience is there. They just have to play the game," Stouffer remarked.

Wood River clinched the Fourth District title with a 2-0 victory over Buhl at Buhl last Wednesday. A goal by Robin Kearns broke open the deadlock and Kipp Mills tallied the insurance score.

In six straight visits to state, Wood River (103-21-10 in nine seasons of soccer) boasts a 16-5 record including two first places and three third places.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.