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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of October 29 - November 4, 2003


Payette, WRHS matched in heavyweight opener

State boys’ soccer Thursday in Buhl

Express Staff Writer

The championship game of this week’s State 3A boys’ soccer tournament in Buhl could essentially be Thursday’s opening-round match-up between two-time defending champion Payette and five-time title game finalist Wood River of Hailey.

To stop Wood River, you have to stop its leading scorer Maicol Corrales (right, slipping behind Reed Boeger of The Community School, left). Because the Cutthroats couldn’t stop Corrales (1 goal, 1 assist) for the whole game Thursday in the district championship tilt, Wood River won 2-0. Express photo by David N. Seelig

It could also be the final important clash between the two teams that have dominated the State 3A/A-2 boys’ soccer tournaments over the past five years—because Wood River is moving up to the 4A level starting next year.

Third District champion Payette (15-1, 91-7 goals-against) will meet Fourth District champion Wood River (16-3-1, 109-25 goals-against) at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Buhl. Payette has won 10 straight games and Wood River has captured seven straight wins.

Something has to give. The eight-team tournament is single elimination consolation, meaning you have to win three games to take the title. And of course the format makes winning your first game the key to ultimate success.

Three-time state soccer champion Payette has beaten Wood River 2-1 and 6-1 in the last two State 3A title games. But coach Brian Daluiso’s Wolverines have appeared in the state championship game for five straight years, winning in 1998 and 1999.

To succeed at state, Wood River will need step-up efforts from defenders like Sagen Howard (right), running along with John Hayes of The Community School Thursday in Hailey. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Defense was responsible for Wood River’s other state titles, overtime wins over Weiser and Twin Falls. In contrast, this year’s #3-ranked Wolverine team has set a school record for scoring at 5.5 goals per game. The Hailey defense has been solid, but not spectacular.

Wood River’s key ingredient is the scoring of senior Maicol Corrales (32 goals this season, 52 goals over two years).

Corrales has scored at least one goal in 18 of 20 games this fall, and at least one goal in 30 of 41 games over two seasons. When he hasn’t scored, Wood River is 4-6. When he has scored, the record is 26-1-4.

But Corrales isn’t Wood River’s only threat. Including Corrales, seven Wolverines have scored seven or more goals in 2003—Chase Cleveland 15, K.C. Rivera 11, Shane Cordeau 10, Tate Mills 10, Willie Meyers 8 and Byron Epp 7.

Top-ranked Payette (5.7 goals a game) has plenty of weapons, too.

The Pirates haven’t lost since a 2-1 setback at McCall-Donnelly Sept. 16. They beat #2-ranked McCall (14-3-2) by a 4-0 score last week, demoralizing the Vandals so much that McCall went home early and missed a state trip with a 2-1 loss to Middleton (6-11-1).

Lurking in the background and enjoying the attention given to favorites Payette and Wood River is coach Richard Whitelaw’s Community School team from Sun Valley.

Unheralded, the Cutthroats could quietly make it to Saturday’s title game. The lack of attention paid to the Cutthroats and their top scorers John Hayes (18) and Bobby Flanigan (15) is refreshing to Whitelaw.

The high-scoring Cutthroats were in the driver’s seat the last two years at state and they were in precisely the same position as Wood River two years ago on the same Buhl field—when they were a record-setting offense opening state with a game against Payette.

The Pirates won that game 3-2 en route to their first of two straight state championship victories over Wood River. And last year, in the State 3A semi-final game, Payette slipped past The Community School 3-2 in double overtime on the ice-cold and snowy Pocatello pitch.

It wouldn’t be a complete surprise if The Community School (11-3-2) won its first game Thursday at 3 p.m. against Sixth District champion Teton and then captured its semi-final match-up Friday against the winner of Thursday’s Snake River-Bonners Ferry game.

Results like that would put the Cutthroats into Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. championship game against, in all likelihood, Payette or Wood River.

Compared to his last two state teams, scoring powerhouses (267 goals in two seasons) that ran into Payette early and settled for fourth- and third-place finishes, Whitelaw’s squad relies on defense and pins its hopes on an outstanding goalkeeper, Luke Fostvedt.

The funny thing is, Wood River won its two state titles in 1998 and 1999 with a great goalkeeper, Charlie Askew.

But sturdy senior Fostvedt, for all his valiant efforts, couldn’t stop Wood River’s scoring machine in last Thursday’s Fourth District 3A tournament championship game played at Hailey’s South Valley Sports Complex soccer field.

Wood River posted its seventh shutout of the season, 2-0.

Corrales set up the first goal scored by Tate Mills in the final two minutes of the first half, then Corrales drilled home the insurance goal on a Shane Cordeau cross only two minutes after halftime.

Said coach Whitelaw, "That early goal in the second half killed us and killed the game. We shut them down a bit but Wood River has a lot of weapons. We were hoping we’d hold them out and sneak one in."

The Wolverines out-shot the Cutthroats 19-5 and limited the two-time defending district champions to just a single shot after intermission.

Coach Daluiso said, "That’s the first time we’ve shut out a decent team in a while. (Sweeper) Matt Hansen and (stopper) Sagen Howard played well.

"We controlled the midfield and our defense was good. On offense that was the fewest shots we’ve had in any game this season. But I’ve got to hand it to Luke (Fostvedt)—he’s a good goalie."

"Man of the Match" Fostvedt, very aggressive to the ball, made 14 saves compared to four for his counterpart, Wood River’s Kristian Timmons. "Luke had a lot of work," said Whitelaw.

Whitelaw agreed with Daluiso’s assessment of Wood River’s offense Thursday. Said Whitelaw, "Wood River had a bunch of chances but didn’t have their shooting shoes on."

But he liked the way the Cutthroats played against Wood River.

Hayes, for instance, had a pair of teeth-rattling and wind-aided southpaw shots that caromed off the crossbar late in the first half. Making one of those shots would have changed the scoreless game, in Sun Valley’s favor.

Whitelaw said, "If we play like that at state, we’ll be fine."



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