Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Hailey girls ready for state challenge

Soccer team carries 15-0-1 record to state

Leading scorer Margii Driscoll will lead the Wood River High School girls? soccer team into the State 4A tournament Thursday in Meridian. Photo by David N. Seelig

Everybody will be gunning for Wood River, which makes the challenge even tougher this weekend.

In its first year playing at the 4A level, the Wood River High School girls? varsity soccer team will be regarded as one of the favorites during this weekend?s State 4A girls? soccer tournament at Meridian.

Not only is Wood River (15-0-1) undefeated with 15 shutouts to its credit in 16 games, the Wolverines have outscored opponents 63-1 and have been ranked 10th in the NSCAA/adidas national girls? high school rankings for Region VI.

Wood River, making its 10th consecutive trip to state soccer with two previous championships to its credit (1995 and 2000), will open its state quest Thursday with a 2 p.m. game against the Moscow Bears (13-5-2).

Northern Idaho runner-up Moscow, three times a loser to Panhandle champion Sandpoint this season, earned its state ticket with a 4-2 state play-in victory over Emmett Saturday behind three goals by Jenny Tibbals.

Meanwhile, Wood River will be slightly better rested since the Hailey girls have played only once in nearly two weeks?that a 1-0 victory over defending state champion Century in the Great Basin Conference championship game Thursday in Hailey.

Brianna Hull-Mullins, a sophomore, nailed the eventual winning goal after settling the ball on a Calley Brown corner kick seven minutes into the first half. Wood River out-shot Century 15-6 (9-1 in the second half) and had a 5-2 advantage in corners.

Goalkeeper Jessi Pieschl, a senior, made six saves as Wood River remained unbeaten in three games against Century this season (a 0-0 tie along with 4-0 and 1-0 wins).

First-year head coach Greg Gvozdas said about the Century game, ?It was a great tune-up for state. The intensity was high and there was a lot of chat on the field. We had some good chances but unfortunately didn?t finish.?

Playing without senior defender Gina Thomas (out-of-town for a family matter) and sophomore defensive ace Danielle Smith (tweaked her foot during the game), Wood River had promising young players Calley Brown and Michelle McMurdo step up and fill the bill on the important back line.

?I asked Michelle and Calley to do the job Gina and Danielle normally do?mark their best players and keep them out of the net,? said Gvozdas. ?Brianna (Hull-Mullins) played real well in the midfield and Erin (McQueen) stepped it up for us.?

Anchoring the defense, as always, was junior sweeper Katie Jensen.

With the exception of an Oct. 12 visit to Burley, Wood River (9-0 home) has played all its games on the big Hailey home field during October, so the trip to state will be a big change. With seven strong seniors, however, Wood River should be up to the task.

If the Wolverines beat Moscow Thursday, they?ll advance to Friday?s semi-final against the winner of Vallivue and Hillcrest. Vallivue beat Emmett 4-1 and Kuna 2-1 to take the Third District championship, while Hillcrest entered state through a 1-0 playoff victory over Pocatello Saturday.

State 4A girls soccer

Thursday, Oct. 28
11:00 a.m. Sandpoint vs. Kuna (game #1)
11:00 a.m. Blackfoot vs. Century (game #2)
2:00 p.m. Vallivue vs. Hillcrest (game #3)
2:00 p.m. Wood River vs. Moscow (game #4)

Friday, Oct. 29
11:00 a.m. Loser #1 vs. loser #2
11:00 a.m. Loser #3 vs. loser #4
2:00 p.m. Winner #1 vs. winner #2
2:00 p.m. Winner #3 vs. winner #4

Saturday, Oct. 30
10:30 a.m. Consolation fourth-place game
10:30 a.m. Third-place game
1:30 p.m. Championship game

Last year?s champion?Century 3-1 over Moscow.
Third place?Sandpoint 3-1 over Hillcrest.
Consolation?Kuna 6-3 over Blackfoot.

Location?Capital Soccer Complex, South Eagle Rd. and Lake Hazel Rd., Meridian (take Eagle Rd. exit off I-84 west of Boise, and go south)

General admission?$5 per day

Trophies?are awarded to the top four teams, with medals going to members of the first- and second-place teams.

Tie games?Games tied after 80 minutes of play will be settled by two 10-minute sudden death overtime periods. If games are still tied, alternating kicks from the penalty mark by five members from each team, most goals the winner. Finally, if games are still tied, sudden victory penalty kicks by five different players.

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