McCall's Sabala Field has been perilous turf for Wood River Valley boys' and girls' prep soccer teams during the last two weekends of early-season friendly matches.
In six of the games played by Community School and Wood River teams Aug. 27 and Sept. 3 at McCall, the Wood River teams went 0-5-1 and were outscored 16-4.
Fortunately, the Wood River High School girls' varsity soccer team salvaged some local bragging rights Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Emmett followed by a 6-1 trouncing of McCall-Donnelly.
Freshmen Sam Johnson and Aimee Evans along with junior Brianna Hull-Mullins scored goals for Wood River (3-0-1, 1-0 league) snapping the four-game win streak of Emmett (4-1).
Later Saturday, Margii Driscoll's three goals led Hailey past last year's State 3A consolation champion McCall (1-3), which lost its third straight contest by a combined 16-4 score on its homefield.
Wood River dominated, outshooting Emmett 31-7 and McCall 35-4. In addition the Wolverines had nine corner kicks in each game.
The Hailey offense was certainly promising, but coach Greg Gvozdas may have been happier with the defense, which has won three straight games since senior sweeper Katie Jensen departed for music school.
"Our defense is coming together well," said Gvozdas about his back defensive three of sophomore sweeper Michelle McMurdo, junior outside back Kacie Femling and sophomore outside back Kallie Skahill. "Kacie and Michelle have really solidified the defense."
Nevertheless, Gvozdas was a little concerned over playing another 4A school, Emmett, Saturday afternoon.
Emmett (4-1) pounded Weiser 11-1 in its opener last weekend then beat Kuna 3-2 Monday and Middleton 3-2 Wednesday. In Saturday's opening game, Emmett took care of McCall-Donnelly 4-1 so the Huskies carried a four-game winning streak into their game with Wood River.
"We had watched Emmett play McCall Saturday morning and we knew if we played up to our abilities, we could come out of the Emmett game with a victory," said Gvozdas. "We also knew we had to be aware of Emmett's leading scorer, Jackie Hovda, coming out of the midfield.
"We made our three center midfielders aware of where Jackie was at all times. And we did a real good job of limiting her opportunities."
Against Emmett the Wolverines struck first. Sam Johnson converted a corner kick by Evans for her first varsity goal at the five-minute mark. Wood River was a little unlucky when Hovda escaped all the attention and launched a 45-yard shot that somehow found the goal in the 35th minute for a 1-1 tie at intermission.
Wood River's offensive pressure picked up a notch after the half. "We had a lot of pressure and hit the crossbar twice," said Gvozdas.
Hull-Mullins made a nice move at the right corner of the box and scored in the 50th minute, then an indirect kick by Evans deflected into the Huskies goal for a 3-1 Hailey lead in the 57th minute.
Unfortunately Hull-Mullins, probably Wood River's "player of the game," suffered a severe shoulder injury late in the contest. At the time she was marking Hovda and doing quite well. After Hull-Mullins departed, Hovda scored her second goal in the 88th minute for the 3-2 final.
Hull-Mullins went to the hospital for x-rays, which were negative. She sat out the subsequent McCall game but is expected to be back practicing this week, coach Gvozdas said.
Playing without one of its best players, McCall didn't offer much of an attack in the nightcap. Driscoll scored her first goal of the game in the fifth minute. McCall cashed in on a penalty kick after a ball hit a Hailey defender in the arm within the box.
The 1-1 half-time tie didn't last.
Two Driscoll breakaways in the first 10 minutes after the half gave Wood River a 3-1 lead. With nine goals in four games, senior striker Driscoll (47 goals) vaulted over Jenny Hobson and Charlotte Gourlay into sole possession of third place on the all-time Hailey scoring list.
Junior center midfielder Kaitlin Gasenica tallied her first goal of the season at the 57-minute mark. Freshman forward Elsa Sweek made it 5-1 at 69 minutes, from Driscoll, then Sweek assisted the first goal by senior Nicole Schulz at 78 minutes.
"We had good possession of the ball in the midfield this weekend with Kaitlin, Aimee, Calley (Brown) and Brianna," coach Gvozdas said. The Wolverines improved their all-time record against McCall to 4-1-1.
Wood River's scheduled home game against Pocatello Tuesday was rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 26 on the Hailey pitch. The Wolverines next play Saturday, Sept. 10 at Preston, then go to Jerome Monday.
WRHS boys' soccer
The Wood River boys (1-2-1, 1-0 league) didn't score a goal in their two games at McCall Saturday, losing 1-0 to McCall and playing Emmett (2-2-2) to a 0-0 tie.
Defending State 3A champion McCall (3-1) "won" the day by beating Emmett 2-1.
Wood River was due to travel to Pocatello (1-2-1) on Tuesday but the game was rescheduled. Next, the Wolverines go to Preston Saturday.