Wednesday, October 8, 2008

WRHS girls poised for another state soccer run

Wolverines, Knights wage 1-1, 2-2 games

"200" was a big number for the Wood River High School girls' soccer program last week, and "14" is another important number when the Great Basin Conference West tournament is staged this week.

Last Saturday, with several important senior players left at home in Hailey for college standardized testing, Wood River (13-1-1, 6-0-0 league) won at Burley 2-0 on two goals by senior Sam Johnson and thus captured the 200th victory in the program's 16 seasons.

Unbeaten in their last 13 games with eight shutouts, the Idaho 4A top-ranked Wolverines will be aiming for the school's 14th consecutive state tournament berth this week. They've won four straight Great Basin West tournament titles and hope to make it five.

Here's another number: "6," which has something to do with the State 4A tourney Oct. 23-25 in Caldwell.

"6" is the number of games remaining if Wood River wins the Great Basin and goes all the way to the final day at state. There will be many few challenges, booby-traps and hurdles along the way, but it's unlikely Wood River will have any in the four-team league tourney.

Coach Greg Gvozdas' top-seeded Wolverines will entertain #4-seeded Burley (0-14-1, 0-5-1) Thursday, Oct. 9 at 4:30 p.m. at South Valley Sports Complex soccer field in Hailey. On the same day, #2-seeded Jerome (3-11-1, 3-2-1) will host #3-seeded Minico (3-13-1, 2-4-0).

The winners of Thursday's games meet for the Great Basin West championship and automatic state tournament berth Saturday, Oct. 11 at 11 a.m.

That title game will be played on Wood River's field if the Hailey girls can stretch their unbeaten streak over Burley since 1996 to 25-0. They've also never lost in girls' soccer to either Jerome or Minico.

Looming on the horizon, if things go according to the script, is a state seeding game for the Great Basin Conference title Thursday, Oct. 16 at 4:30 p.m. That would likely match Wood River against unbeaten Century (9-0-2), a 4-0 winner over Blackfoot Saturday.

It's still uncertain where that game would be played. Century visited 5A Highland of Pocatello Tuesday afternoon, in a rematch of a 0-0 tie played Sept. 16 between the cross-town rivals. Century's stubborn defenders have surrendered only one goal all season, that coming in a 3-1 win at Preston Sept. 11.

Century, last year's state tournament third-place finisher and the 2005-06 state titlist, blanked Wood River 2-0 in last year's conference title game, at Pocatello. In the first round at state this year, the conference champ plays the Boise-area second-place finisher. The conference runner-up meets the Boise champ.

Remember, last year's championship and runner-up teams at state were Bishop Kelly of Boise and Skyview of Nampa, and those two will duke it out for the Third District title in the next week.

Prior to Wood River's 2-0 win at Burley that made Hailey's 16-year record 200-52-24, the Wolverines enjoyed Thursday's 7-1 "Senior Night" win over Jerome. Seven different players scored goals including four of the eight seniors.

Wood River, boasting an 11-0 edge in corner kicks, out-shot Jerome 28-1, the only Tiger shot coming on a successful penalty kick by top scorer Aubree Callen late in the game. Tiger keeper Laura Orozco (13 saves) had to be on her toes.

Scorers for Hailey were Delaney Fox, Tanner Dredge, K.T. Martinez, Halsey Pierce (4-0 at half), Aimee Evans, Laura Elgee and Elsa Sweek.

Fox's goal came via a nice header on an Evans corner kick at 11 minutes. Dredge, the team's top scorer with 26 goals, walked in for an easy goal at 13 minutes. Sweek passed to Martinez for the third goal. Evans made a perfect lead pass to Pierce on the left wing for a 4-0 halftime lead at 38 minutes.

Dredge made a run and passed to Evans for the fifth goal at 52 minutes. Elgee's 32-yard free kick made it 6-0, after Evans was fouled, and Fox crossed a ball that Sweek headed for a 7-0 game at 74 minutes of the 80-minute game.

Devan Annan, the only Hailey senior who hasn't scored this season, had several excellent chances and played well as she logged plenty of minutes on "Senior Night."

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