In a field of 104 teams, it is easy to get lost in the crowd, but several Sawtooth United F.C. teams distinguished themselves at the President's Cup tournament last weekend.
Held at Simplot Sports Complex, May 21-22, the tilt attracted nearly 2,000 players aged 11-18, and all 12 of the Sawtooth squads ended the season with a bang.
Paced by Margii Driscoll's seven goals and backstopped by keeper Jessi Pieschl, the U-18 girls (4-0) won their division title, outscoring opponents 13-1. Sawtooth downed the Wolfpack in the final 1-0. Driscoll scored in the game's second minute and the tally held up for the full eighty minutes and the victory.
Despite Driscoll's scoring prowess, coach Farrell Swain said her squad's success was due to a "total team effort."
"It was the best I have seen them play all season," Swain added.
Also finding the back of the net in wins of 2-0, 5-1 and 5-0 were Tara Cappell (3), Ireland King, Kaitlin Gasenica, and Kacie Femling.
Also playing for the U-18 team this season were Ashley Mardian, Gina Thomas, Danielle Donovan, Ross Mills, Cassidy Doucette, Katie Jensen, Laura Speck, Nicole Schultz, Danielle Smith, Brianna Hull-Mullins, Calley Brown, Krista Detwiler, and Sara Berman.
Richard Whitelaw's U-13 boys also hauled in championship hardware.
"Liverpool and Sawtooth United U-13's, what a good week!" Whitelaw exclaimed.
In the final match against Boise, Sawtooth (3-1) avenged an earlier loss to the Capitals, winning 5-2 to claim the title.
"Man of the Match" Morgan Pike tallied three goals while Brendan Freund and Wyatt Bunce added singles in the title match. The goalie was Nick Crosby.
Earlier, "MOM" Chance McCroskey scored two goals in a 2-0 victory over PVSC Panthers. Freund, Hector Lopez, Pike and Austin Cruz tallied goals in a 4-1 decision over Idaho Pride. "MOM" was Danny Sundali in that one.
In the preliminary 2-0 loss to Boise Capitals, "MOMs" were Freund and Bunce.
Two other SUFC teams made the finals. The U-12s narrowly fell to #2 ranked team in Boise; the Osprey White 1-0 in the championship game and the U-14s lost 5-0 to Jaguars in their finale.
The U-12 boys with coach Mark Gasenica compiled a mark of 2-1-1 in Boise and a 14-3 record on the season.
"They were overachievers," Gasenica said.
Sawtooth defeated Vallivue 5-0 on goals by Tanner Farrow, Chris De La Cruz, Harlan Collins, Juan Castro and Hunter Weaver. Man of the Match was Sean Sutton.
Farrow twined two goals and De La Cruz one in a 3-1 victory over the Boise Capitals. Man of the Match honors went to goalie Anthony Martin.
A 1-1 tie against Mountain Home in the semifinals pushed Sawtooth through to the final. Farrow scored and Spyder Turco was MOM.
The championship ended in the Boise Osprey's favor 1-0. Harlan Collins got the MOM nod.
John Kearney's U-14 boys (2-2) finished the season on a high point, qualifying for the championship by dominating High Desert of Caldwell in the semifinals 4-0. Goal scorers were Austin Grill (MOM) and Hank Mason with two goals each.
Sawtooth United opened with a 3-0 victory over the Twin Falls Rapids, courtesy of a hat trick by Man of the Match Austin Grill.
Weiser nipped SUFC 3-2 after a last-second shot hit the crossbar. Mason and Alexander Conn (MOM) found the back of the net.
"The whole season was rough. Being able to shine at the end of the year left everyone with a good taste in their mouth," Kearney commented.
"I knew they could play like that all season and they came together as a team on that last day."
Sawtooth's U-18 boys (10-2) beat the Boise Crush 2-1 for their lone win. Losses were to McCall 2-1 and Xtreme 5-0.
The U-16 boys (0-3) fell to the Boise Heat, Arsenal and Xtreme. Man of the Match went to Caleb Sonneland and Barrett Cincotta.
U-11 (0-3) MVP's were Dustin Rutkowski, Davis Matthews and Tom Crosby.
The girls' games were extremely close and Sawtooth's U-12 kickers played their way to a 0-1-2 mark.
After dropping a 5-0 decision to Kaos, SUFC finished with a pair of 1-1 ties against Payette and High Desert.
Halsey Pierce (MOM) and Madison Gove tallied goals. Taylor Gove also earned Man of the Match honors.
In U-16 play, Sawtooth (1-2) defeated Twin Falls 4-1. Elsa Sweek and Ellen Ard slotted two goals apiece. Lauren Phillips was MOM. Playing up a level against two U-17 sides, SUFC fell to Twin Falls 5-0 and 3-0. Katie Leo was Player of the Game.
The local U-14 girls were also 1-2 with a 3-1 victory of High Desert and losses of 3-2 and 1-0 to Pal United and High Desert, respectively. Goal scorers were Sam Johnson (2), Hannah Hennessy (2) and Aimee Evans.
Sawtooth's U-11 girls went 0-2-1, but were in every contest. Sawtooth played the Wolfpack to a scoreless tie and fell to the Boise Capitals 1-0. The Boise Blast bested Sawtooth 5-2. Megan Morrell and Alison Gasenica scored goals. Players of the Game were Ali Appleton and Katiana Martinez.
In U-13 girls' play Sawtooth United went 0-3 with losses to Idaho Pride, Boise Capitals and Boise Blast.
Competitive team action is over for the time being, but Sawtooth United's development squads will participate in the annual Pocatello tournament, June 3-4.