Wednesday, October 19, 2005

State soccer in the bag for Hailey girls

WRHS earns 11th straight state trip

Relied upon for her speed, corner kicks and cross passes, Wolverine freshman Aimee Evans breaks free along the right wing and looks for a teammate during Saturday's Jerome game. Photo by Willy Cook

Wood River High School's #2-ranked girls' soccer team (14-2-2, 8-1-1 home) completed another undefeated run through the 4A Great Basin Conference West with a 2-0 home victory over Burley Monday at South Valley Sports Complex field.

Junior Calley Brown scored the eventual game winner on a long drive at 17 minutes, then freshman Sam Johnson crossed to junior Ellen Ard who tallied the insurance goal at 30 minutes. The second half was scoreless as Wood River's 5.4 goal per game attack was throttled by Burley's pack-it-in defensive posture.

Still, a win is a win—and it was a big one for Wood River (97 goals scored, 20 goals allowed this fall).

Coach Greg Gvozdas' Wolverines posted their eighth shutout in the last nine games and improved their two-year Great Basin Conference West record to 16-0. They've outscored league foes 98-1 in those 16 4A triumphs in 2004 and 2005.

The league dominance is impressive, and so is Wood River's record in visiting the state tournament.

With Monday's win Wood River clinched its 11th consecutive state girls' soccer tournament berth and will compete Oct. 27-29 in the eight-team State 4A meet at the Capital Soccer Complex in west Boise.

First of all, Wood River must play undefeated Century of Pocatello (16-0-2) on Thursday, Oct. 20 in the Great Basin Conference West championship game, to be held in Pocatello. The game will settle conference bragging rights and will determine seeding for the state tourney bracket.

Wood River is the defending conference champion, having beaten Century 1-0 last October in Hailey.

Top-ranked Century is the only team to defeat Wood River this fall, by scores of 3-2 and 4-0. The Diamondbacks tallied a pair of second-half goals to win the Fifth District championship 2-0 over Pocatello Saturday in the Gate City. It was Century's eighth straight shutout.

In another game with state implications Thursday, the winner of yesterday's Burley-Minico conference second-place game will play the winner of Tuesday's Pocatello-Preston contest—and that winner Thursday will need to win a state play-in game Saturday, Oct. 22 against an Idaho Falls team to make the state trip.

Wood River opened its state tournament quest Saturday with an 11-0 win over #4-seeded Jerome at South Valley Sports Complex. The Wolverines out-shot Jerome 33-1 and had a 12-1 advantage in corner kicks. Jerome goalkeeper Karen Medina, who had 30 saves when the Wolverines trimmed host Jerome 3-0 back on Sept. 16, made 16 saves.

Coach Gvozdas, who celebrated his 30th varsity coaching win, said his team had some good scoring plays. Freshman Sam Johnson (12 goals season) finished with four goals and senior Margii Driscoll (39 goals, 77 career goals) added three more—the ninth time in 18 games that Driscoll has tallied three or more goals.

Johnson took a pass from Kaitlin Gasenica to score at eight minutes, then a long goal kick by Caiti Leo freed up Driscoll for her first goal at 14 minutes. Calley Brown's cross ended up with a header goal by Kacie Femling at 19 minutes. Johnson added her second goal, then got her hat trick on a rebound of an Ellen Ard shot—set up by Alexa Turzian and Brianna Hull-Mullins.

Extending the 5-0 half-time lead, Driscoll made a beautiful lead pass to Johnson, who scored her fourth goal at 44 minutes. Driscoll enticed the keeper out and made it 7-0 at 53 minutes, then she floated a high cross that Aimee Evans twisted into the net with the side of her foot. Turzian made it 9-0, after hard work by Delaney Fox, then Hull-Mullins took a drop pass from Ard for a 10-0 game.

Driscoll scored her hat trick with two minutes left, one-timing a great cross pass from captain Nicole Schulz into the Tiger net for the 11-0 final.

Meanwhile, coach Doug Stouffer's Wood River junior varsity completed a perfect 8-0 season by beating Burley in the Oct. 12 season finale. The young Wolverines were dominant, their closest games 3-1 and 4-2 decisions over The Community School.

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