Kicks in shootouts and dramatic saves by the goalkeepers were woven into the fabric of the 32nd annual Ketchum Classic men's soccer tournament Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 2-3 at Ketchum's Atkinson Park.
Two of the local teams, the Lefty's F.C. men and Laurent Perrier women, went into shootouts. The men's semi-final ended up in the shootout, and the championship, too.
In the end, the champion of the 12-team men's tournament was a familiar one—Boise Blast 2-1 in a shootout over Novus New Balance of Boise. It was the Blast's fourth victory of the weekend and fifth Ketchum Classic title in six years
Restoring Boise Blast's luster as Ketchum champion was winning goalkeeper Jon Gabrielson, also in the net two years ago when Blast beat San Lorenzo of Ketchum/Hailey 1-0 in the championship game for their 16th straight Classic win.
Last year the Blast's 17-game Ketchum win streak came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Weber State, and Weber State eventually fell to Boise United 1-0 in the title game. But the Blast was sharp last weekend, winning games 3-0, 2-1, 2-0 and 2-1.
Gabrielson made a save on the fifth and final New Balance shooter Sunday afternoon to send the trophy back to the Blast boys, a team sponsored this year by Bodybuilding.com.
Meanwhile, Jackson Hole (Wyo.) avenged its 1-0 loss to Park City in last year's Laurent Perrier women's tourney with a hard-fought 1-0 title game win over the Laurent Perrier gals of Ketchum in Sunday's finale of the 27th annual meet sponsored by Jim Cimino.
But Lauren Perrier had a great weekend, improving each game and winning three games by 1-0 scores. Each Laurent Perrier game was settled 1-0, thanks to a strong defense led by goalie Kelly Medina and sweeper Ashley Brown.
Check next week's Local Life for team photos of the local squads in the Ketchum Classic.
Men's action heats up
Boise Blast made it to the title game on Gabrielson's 2-0 semi-final shutout over Pocatello. John Brookover and Jordan Harris scored sending Blast to another Ketchum final.
New Balance needed a 2-1 shootout win over a good Athletico Barcelona side from Idaho Falls to make it to the championship game. Novus star was goalie Jeff Bendawald, who didn't allow a shootout goal while also making one of Novus' three penalty kicks.
In the final, Blast led Novus 1-0 in the first half as Jesus Lopez finished a Jordan Harris cross. Only five minutes remained in the game when Brett Hart of New Balance headed a ball past Gabrielson making it 1-1 and sending it to kicks.
Blast made its first two kicks past Bendawald—Harris and John Mitchell finding corners. Bendawald came out of the net and made it 2-1. The third shooters missed for each team. The fourth shooters were right on—Brookover of Blast and Ivan Basquill of New Balance scoring for a 3-2 Blast edge.
Bendawald made a huge save on Blast's fifth shooter and seemed like he might be the hero once again. But Blast goalkeeper Gabrielson came up huge as well, guessing correctly by lunging to his left and stopping a low shot to win it all.
The first game for Lefty's F.C. turned into one of the tournament's better clashes. Lefty's rallied from a 3-1 second-half deficit into a 3-3 tie. But Pocatello won the shootout 5-4 in sudden death to keep Lefty's out of the semi-final.
Josh Stanek's header on a cross from John Campbell gave Lefty's a 1-0 lead five minutes into the 70-minute game, but Pocatello's Marcus Noorda equalized on a penalty kick.
Bang-bang scoring plays by Pocatello's Brian Ramsey, who beat the Lefty's defense twice, gave Pocatello a 3-1 lead just six minutes after the half. The Lefty's comeback started when Shaun Kelly's low, hard corner kick found the foot of University of Vermont player Cameron Lawler, who punched it in nine minutes into the half.
Lefty's had its chances but couldn't score until Chatham Baker out-raced two Pocatello defenders and made good on a header for a 3-3 regulation tie.
The keepers in the shootout were Baker of Lefty's and Bryan Lynch of Pocatello. Lawler and Audie McCann of Lefty's made their shots. So did Pocatello's first two shooters, Jeff Johnson and Byron Eckert. Stanek hit the crossbar, no good, but Baker made a big save. Campbell and Phil Gardner traded goals. So did Kelly and Pocatello's Noorda.
It went to sudden death with the goals at 4-4, and Pocatello keeper Lynch stopped Scott Thompson of Lefty's. Pokey's Phillip Johnson beat Baker on his shot ending the tight game.
Lefty's had one more game against Fania, a team made up of some local players. Fania's Renzo Villamonte left-footed a through ball in the net for a 1-0 Fania lead at half, but Lefty's stormed back with four goals in the first 23 minutes of the second half—Campbell scoring twice, Eric Hall (header) and Paul Huish (from Campbell).
Fania made it closer with Villamonte's second goal and a nice shot by Sun Valley Suns forward Charles Friedman, but Lefty's prevailed 4-3 behind goalkeeper Tyler Chandler.
The local San Lorenzo boys went 1-1-1 last weekend.
They won their first game 3-1 over Firehouse of Logan on goals by K.C. Rivera, Ciro Lima and Raul Roldan, and fine goalkeeping by Jonathan Roldan. They lost to Boise Blast 2-1 in a cat-and-mouse game—Raul Roldan scoring. They tied Weber State 2-2 on goals by Rivera and Roland Aquino.
Fine weekend for LP women
Kelly Medina's strong play ended Laurent Perrier's perennial search for a goalkeeper. "Kelly had some awesome saves," said Laurent Perrier midfielder Casey Mills.
Medina's first of three shutouts was 1-0 over Pocatello, Lauren Eder providing the only goal on a throw-in by Calley Brown. Jill McDonald's second half goal lifted LP over Boise Confusion 1-0 later Saturday. Brown's strong corner and direct kicks were a constant offensive threat for LP's gals.
Sunday's semi-final between LP and defending champion Park City was scoreless after regulation, thanks to the goalkeeping of Medina and Park City's Lexie McMurdie and the Ketchum defense led by Ashley Brown and Jenni Conrad.
Park City grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the shootout, thanks to goals by Jessica Moran and Kelly Isleib. Calley Brown's calm shot into the corner settled down the LP girls and Carolina Stevens poked one into the corner for a 2-2 tie.
Having dazzled the crowd with long flip-throws from the sideline, Park City's Erica Cuttitta made it 3-2 but Casey Mills equalized for a 3-3 game. Medina batted away Park City's fifth shot, and Rita Gafford of Laurent Perrier ended the game—going high, left.
"No pressure, just another day at the office," Gafford said. Captain Casey Mills said, "It was a really fun game. We jelled in the first half and had some great give-and-gos."
Laurent Perrier feared Jackson Hole's offense (9 goals in 2 wins) in the championship game, especially after Jackson's Kristen Pizarro scored five minutes into the game.
That was the game's only score, though. In fact, Laurent Perrier regrouped and applied tremendous pressure for the final 50 minutes of the game, nearly beating Jackson goalie Alexis Smith several times.
Sparking the Ketchum offense were strong charges by Sara Schroeder, Gafford, Katie Dondero and University of Vermont skier Jill McDonald. Mills hit a ball off the post, and Calley Brown sent a tester off the crossbar. Goalie Smith made a nice save on McDonald, and Gafford's left footer set up by Schroeder went just wide.
The final Laurent Perrier chance was a high, deep 22-yarder by Carolina Stevens with three minutes to go. Jackson goalie Smith got a hand on it and preserved the 1-0 victory.
"We didn't get the big magnum (of champagne) but we have lots of bottles left," said Mills before LP retreated to Grumpy's for its party. "Our offense really stepped up against Jackson Hole."
Ketchum Classic results
August 2-3, 2008 at Ketchum's Atkinson Park and Elkhorn's Sagewillow Farms, the 32nd annual men's tournament (18 games) and 27th annual Laurent Perrier women's tournament (8 games).
Boise Blast 4-0
Novus New Balance (Boise) 3-1
Jackson Hole (Wyo.) 2-1
Lefty's FC (Ketchum) 1-1
Athletico Barcelona (Idaho Falls) 1-2
San Lorenzo (Ketchum/Hailey) 1-1-1
Weber State (Utah) 1-1-1
Boise United 1-1-1
Fania (Ketchum/Hailey) 0-2-1
Fierabend (Seattle) 0-2
Firehouse (Logan, Utah) 0-3
Boise United 2, Athletico Barcelona 1
Jackson Hole 2, Boise United 1 (shootout, Jackson wins on kicks 3-2)
Athletico Barcelona 3, Jackson Hole 1
Pocatello 4, Lefty's F.C. 3 (shootout, Pocatello wins on kicks 5-4)
Lefty's F.C. 4, Fania 3
Pocatello 4, Fania 1
Boise Blast 3, Firehouse 0
San Lorenzo 3, Firehouse 1
Boise Blast 2, San Lorenzo 1
Novus New Balance 2, Weber State 0
Weber State 4, Fierabend 3
Novus New Balance 2, Fierabend 1
First-day records: Boise Blast 2-0, Novus New Balance 2-0, Pocatello 2-0, Athletico Barcelona 1-1, Lefty's F.C. 1-1, Boise United 1-1, San Lorenzo 1-1, Jackson Hole 1-1, Weber State 1-1, Fierabend 0-2, Fania 0-2, Firehouse 0-2.
Jackson Hole 4, Firehouse 0
San Lorenzo 2, Weber State 2 (tie)
Boise United 1, Fania 1 (tie)
Semi-final: Novus New Balance 2, Athletico Barcelona 1 (shootout, New Balance wins on kicks 3-0)
Semi-final: Boise Blast 2, Pocatello 0
Boise Blast 2, Novus New Balance 1 (shootout, Boise Blast wins on kicks 3-2)
Jackson Hole (Wyo.) 3-0
Laurent Perrier of Ketchum 3-1
Park City (Utah) 1-2
Boise Confusion 1-2
Laurent Perrier 1, Pocatello 0
Jackson Hole 6, Park City 2
Jackson Hole 3, Pocatello 1
Park City 3, Boise Confusion 1
Laurent Perrier 1, Boise Confusion 0
First-day records: Jackson Hole 2-0, Laurent Perrier 2-0, Park City 1-1, Boise Confusion 0-2, Pocatello 0-2.
Boise Confusion 4, Pocatello 1
Semi-final: Laurent Perrier 1, Park City 0 (shootout, Laurent Perrier wins on kicks 4-3)
Jackson Hole 1, Laurent Perrier 0