Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cutthroats, ‘Cats battle to 1-1 soccer draw

Defenses are strong for High Desert leaders

She didn’t score, but Community School senior Madison Murach constantly pounded shots into the Filer box and at Wildcat junior goalkeeper Katie Williams (18 saves) during Thursday’s 1-1 draw at Elkhorn. Here, Murach directs a header at Williams. Photo by David N. Seelig

The defending High Desert Soccer Conference (HDSC) champs from Buhl might have something to say about it before the girls' prep soccer season is done and 2009 State 3A tournament berths are settled.

But, on a gorgeous Thursday afternoon at Sagewillow Farms in Elkhorn, you got the feeling that the Filer Wildcats and Community School Cutthroats could be playing in October's HDSC championship.

Coach Shane Hild's Wildcats just missed out on a state berth last fall, falling 4-1 to the Cutthroats in the league tournament semi-finals and losing 3-0 to Teton in a state play-in game at Pocatello. But Filer is leading the conference this fall, mainly due to defense and timely scoring.

Defense and the goalkeeping of Filer junior Katie Williams (18 saves) enabled the Wildcats to stay unbeaten in league play with the 1-1 tie at Elkhorn Thursday. The Cutthroats, trailing 1-0 at half, out-shot the 'Cats 21-3 after half and finally scored with four minutes left.

It was a great result for the Cutthroats (6-4-1, 5-1-1 league), who had lost 4-0 at Filer Aug. 25 and needed a tie or a win. Meanwhile, Filer (8-2-2, 6-0-1 league) has now lost only twice, both by 1-0 scores to American Falls and Snake River.

Thursday's equalizer was a beauty, certainly a team effort.

Freshman Ellie Swanson (7 goals) pounded home a ball that was rattling around in the box after keeper Williams made a scintillating save on a header by Emma Wilander. Her header came off a Hailey Rheinschild corner kick, on a play set up by Erica Eshman's intercepted pass deep in the 'Cats zone that forced the corner.

Having seen her team capture five consecutive shutouts in September by a combined 30-0 score, Community School coach Kelly Feldman said about the Filer game, "It was great to get a challenge like that and know we can come back from being a goal down. It was a challenging game, super physical, and we played well."

Filer grabbed the initiative at 11 minutes when sophomore Alyssa Lekkerkerk scored on a Sara Kaster assist, after Candra Coelho's corner kick. Coelho, a sophomore, scored a three-goal hat trick for Filer in its 4-1 win over Buhl Sept. 10 that put the 'Cats in the league driver's seat.

But the Cutthroat defense of Wilander, Rheinschild, Frannie Sensenbrenner and Kelly Hennessy pretty much shut down the Filer offense for the rest of the game. The home team did a better job of stepping into the Filer passing lanes and gaining possession. Seniors Nellie Brown and Madison Murach led the attack down the right and left flanks.

Coach Feldman said the Cutthroats must possess the 50-50 balls to win such a challenging game. The Sun Valley coach was complimentary of junior Wilander and her ability to go up and get the balls in the air. Feldman said, "Emma makes a huge difference for us. She has great speed and can play all over the field."

On Friday, the Cutthroats showed some fatigue in a 5-1 home loss to a good Twin Falls (8-2-2) team that is ranked among the top 4A squads. Brown scored her sixth goal.

The Cutthroats, seeking their ninth straight state tournament berth, will host Buhl (6-1-1, 5-1-0 league) Monday, Sept. 28 at 4:30 p.m. at Sagewillow Farms. It is the first of two games between The Community School and Buhl that will possibly determine the league's #2 seed.

Cutthroat boys tie Filer 2-2

Battling hard to the end of back-to-back games last week, The Community School Cutthroats settled for a 2-2 High Desert Soccer Conference tie with the Filer Wildcats Thursday at Elkhorn's Browning Field, and fell 2-1 at the Twin Falls Bruins Friday.

There were numerous chances in Thursday's 2-2 tie, but the Wildcats got the breaks down the homestretch. Filer (0-9-2, 0-4-2 league) scored twice in the final 16 minutes and equalized with three minutes left to escape with a tie and a point. The Cutthroats out-shot Filer 22-16 with a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks.

"Man of the Match" for the Cutthroats was senior Wyatt Bunce, who scored his fourth goal of the season to give the home team a 1-0 lead 16 minutes into the game. Tanner Flanigan put a direct kick on the ground to Bunce, who took one dribble past the defense and scored.

It was 1-0 at half, Filer senior keeper Justin Orban (10 saves) keeping it that way with a huge save on Flanigan, sent in by Tony Martin, late in the first half. Flanigan scored for a 2-0 lead at 58 minutes. The 'Cats started their comeback when sophomore Sergio Campos deflected home a Zach Clark shot at 64 minutes, then Jesus Mejia scored a garbage goal at 77 minutes for the tie.

Sophomore keeper Tom Crosby (11 saves) deserved a better fate. So did the Cutthroat defense of sweeper Tyler Davis, stopper Zach Lindahl, Colin Waycott and Tim Kanellitsas.

Friday, goal scorer Tanner Flanigan (6th season, 54th career) was "Man of the Match" in the 2-1 loss at Twin Falls. Nate Goss scored twice for the 4A Bruins (3-7-1, 1-4-1).

Winless in their last eight since starting the fall season 2-0 with wins over Twin Falls 4-1 and Filer 3-0, coach Richard Whitelaw's Cutthroats (2-5-3, 1-3-3 league) will resume Monday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. at home against Buhl (2-4-1, 2-3-1).

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