Wood River skins ?Cats, 3-2
Wolverines put the wraps on undefeated regular season
By JODY ZARKOS
Express Staff Writer
The Wolverines celebrate Audie McCann?s (#6) game-tying penalty kick. Photo by David N. Seelig
In a position so unfamiliar ? losing late in the game ? the Wood River boys? soccer team flipped the situation into something completely ordinary for them. They won.
The Wolverines (11-0-1, 6-0 league) knocked off second-seeded Burley 3-2 in Hailey Tuesday to put the finishing touches on an undefeated regular season and wrap up the #1 seed in the district tournament.
?They are a great team,? said Burley coach Wes Nyblade. ?We felt we had them beat. Their backs were to the wall and they pulled it out.?
In the nick of time, too.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime on a goal by the Bobcats? Erick Llanos, Wood River came out hard in the second and put the early pressure on the Burley defense, taking four corner kicks in the first three minutes.
But neither team could get up a full head of steam on offense and most of the play was between the 35-yard lines. Wood River (15 shots) took only six shots on net in the second stanza and Burley had only four ? for a grand total of five the whole game.
The Bobcats went up 2-0 in the game?s 62nd minute. Burley was awarded a penalty kick for a handball in the box. The Bobcats? leading scorer, Eduardo Anguiano (25 goals) converted and with 18 minutes left, Burley appeared to be in control.
Two minutes later, Wood River came up for air. Sagen Howard knocked a free kick, which was initially snagged by the Burley goalkeeper, Michael Kelsey, but dropped. Junior striker Spencer Cordavano was there to punch in the loose ball and put the Wolverines on the scoreboard.
Ask any seasoned soccer play what the most dangerous score is in soccer and they will tell you it?s 2-0. Up by two goals, the winning team tends to relax but if the opposing squad scores; they?re back in the game and trailing by a single goal.
Wood River drove home that point in the next 15 minutes.
With eight minutes remaining, Wood River equalized when Audie McCann converted after being taken down in the box by the opposing goalie.
McCann drilled his shot into the middle right of the net, and Kelsey just got a hand on it, but jumped a little too late to make the stop.
Despite being Mr. Automatic when it comes to penalty shots, it was a McCann miss the led to the game-winner.
With a four minutes left, Wood River?s Sagen Howard took a free kick from the left side of the field on the 30-yard line. He lofted it far post. The ball brushed over McCann, but Bryce Newcomb was there to head it in and put the Wolverines on top 3-2.
?That was well done,? Nyblade commented after the shot. ?That is why that team hasn?t lost.?
?They?re the team that plays to the end every single time,? Swain said. ?That?s what I told them at halftime, too.?
The game?s theatrics weren?t quite over, however. Anguiano was awarded a final penalty kick, but instead of shooting right like he did on his previous pk, he went low left. Timmons dove and corralled the shot to preserve the victory.
?That was the best game I have seen Kristian play,? Swain remarked. ?He is coming on and peaking at the right time.?
Even more than the stop on the penalty kick, Swain was impressed by Timmons diving save on a shot, which he changed directions, dove and knocked the ball out and off the cross bar with both hands. Had he missed Burley would have gone up 3-1.
?That was huge. That save kept us in the game,? Swain said.
It is very likely Wood River and Burley will meet again in the second round of the Great Basin District playoffs on Saturday. Providing both won their opening games on Thursday, the two teams will meet again in Hailey at 1 p.m.
?We hope to come back and play hard against a great squad,? Nyblade remarked.
Swain said her squad is ready for whatever the district tournament serves up.
?Every game boosts our confidence. To be #1 and undefeated the whole season is huge pressure. All the expectations that are on you?what we have done in the regular season is an accomplishment in itself.?