Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hailey girls blank Riverhawks 4-0 in GBC debut

Wolverines meet Twin Falls for league title

Express Staff Writer

Wood River freshman defender Caitlin Sfingi (right) battles with senior Jennifer Jackson of Twin Falls (left) during the 4-0 Wolverine home loss to Twin Falls Sept. 27 in Hailey. Photo by David N. Seelig

     Consistent excellence has been the formula for the Wood River High School girls’ soccer program through four coaches and throughout its 20-year, 357-game history dating to 1993.

     Wood River (10-5-0) made it 18 consecutive years with 10 or more victories Saturday by beating the Canyon Ridge Riverhawks 4-0 in a second round game of the Great Basin Conference tournament at SunWay Soccer Complex, Twin Falls.

     Haley Montgomery, Brigette Thomas, Samantha Sutton (penalty kick) and Miranda Gasenica scored goals and the No. 2-seeded Wolverines out-shot No. 3 Canyon Ridge (6-7-2) by a 17-3 margin, with a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks.

     It was the ninth shutout of the season for Hailey with its solid defense of senior Maggie Williams, sophomore Olivia Thornton, sophomore Timber Kelly and freshman Caitlin Sfingi in front of senior keeper Kiana Chapman (3 saves).

     “We brought a different level of energy to the game and played like a team,” said fourth-year coach Jenni Conrad. “Hopefully we’re peaking at the right time.”

     The Wolverines advanced into Tuesday’s GBC championship game against top-seeded defending league champion Twin Falls, also played on the SunWay pitch. Twin Falls (15-2-0) defeated No. 4-seeded Jerome by a 5-2 score on Saturday.

     Tuesday’s championship game winner earns an automatic berth in the State 4A tournament Oct. 18-20 in Idaho Falls. Whichever team lost Tuesday’s Wood River-Twin Falls game will host an all-important second-place game Thursday, Oct. 9 at 4:30 p.m. for the league’s other state berth.

     Thursday’s foe in the second-place game is the winner of Tuesday’s loser-out contest between Jerome and Canyon Ridge. Jerome (8-9-1) stayed alive Monday with a 9-0 home rout of No. 6 Burley (2-15-1).

     Wood River needed to win Tuesday’s game or will have to win Thursday’s knockout contest for its 18th consecutive trip to the state soccer tournament.

     The Wolverines played with confidence from the outset Saturday against Canyon Ridge.

     Conrad said, “We knew we needed to be focused and worked on our fast attacks—keeping our shape, especially in the midfield. We did a good job staying connected. Sammi (Sutton) and Allison (Gasenica) did a good job moving the ball from the midfield.”

     Montgomery, a speedy junior forward with 10 goals, punched home a rebound of her own shot for a 1-0 lead at 11 minutes. Defender Williams started the next scoring play at 35 minutes with a determined rush. The ball ended up on Montgomery’s foot. She passed to sophomore wing Thomas, who scored her sixth goal.

     A hand ball in the box after Allison Gasenica’s corner kick resulted in Sutton’s penalty kick for a 3-0 Hailey lead in stoppage time. Midway through the second half, Caitlin Sfingi delivered a pass from midfield to sister Maggie Sfingi on the wing, and Maggie crossed perfectly to Miranda Gasenica (10 goals) for the 4-0 final.

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