Community School sophomore Keegan Whitelaw (left) and Wood River senior Stephen Pfeiffer zero in on a 50-50 ball during Friday’s 2-0 Wolverine soccer victory at Browning Field. Pfeiffer scored twice in Monday’s 3-3 (2-2 kicks) tie game with Twin Falls.
Express photo by Willy Cook
Two hard-fought Great Basin Conference battles between Wood River and Twin Falls girls’ and boys’ prep soccer teams ended up in penalty kick shootouts on Monday. Those two shootouts ended in tie games after a series of 10 kicks.
Coach Luis Monjaras’ Wood River boys needed a three-point victory to make headway in a four-team dogfight for GBC supremacy. But, despite bat-tling back from 1-0 and 2-1 defi-cits into a 3-2 lead, Wood River settled for a 3-3 regulation tie.
In the five-player shootout, the Wolverines took an early 2-0 lead but couldn’t succeed on their final three shots. Twin Falls made two of its final three shots to equalize 2-2 in the shootout at Hailey’s South Val-ley Sports Complex soccer field.
Coach Jenni Conrad’s Wood River girls came away with added confidence from their 2-2 regulation tie that couldn’t be resolved when all five shooters from each team made their penalty kicks at SunWay Soc-cer Complex in Twin Falls.
Yet the outcome was another crack in the armor of the two-time defending GBC champs from Twin Falls, who had beaten Wood River five straight times by a 15-1 score including a 2-1 victory in Hailey Sept. 4.
The second tie of the season between the Bruins and Wol-verines left the Wood River boys (4-1-4, 2-1-3 league for 9 points) behind Twin Falls (3-4-2, 3-1-2, 11 points) in the Great Basin standings topped by Canyon Ridge (9-0-1, 5-0-1, 16 points) and defending cham-pion Jerome (6-2-0, 4-2-0, 12 points).
Canyon Ridge visits Jerome today, Wednesday and the Riv-erhawks host Wood River Monday, Sept. 30 in Twin Falls.
Girls’ leader Twin Falls (5-3-1, 5-0-1, 16 points) has domi-nated everybody except Wood River (5-3-1, 4-1-1, 13 points). Yet all three Bruins losses and Monday’s tie have come on their home field. Twin Falls hosts Minico Wednesday and then plays its final five games of the season away from home.
The Jerome girls (3-3-1, 3-3-0, 9 points) visit Canyon Ridge (6-4-0, 4-2-0, 12 points) today and host Twin Falls Monday.
“It went back and forth, but we made simple little mistakes that cost us,” said Monjaras. “Twin Falls always gives us a hard game, but they’ve really picked it up this year.”
Wood River played the whole game without its leading scorer Zac Miczulski (ham-string) and most of the game without another key senior Andrew Graves (groin). Up front, senior Stephen Pfeiffer took up the slack and scored a goal in each half, his second a penalty kick tying it 2-2 at 63 minutes.
Twin Falls, playing with the wind and out-shooting its hosts 8-5 before half, struck first at 28 minutes on a hustle play by senior David Geske. He crossed to junior Morgan Olson in the box. A free kick by Wood River senior Jose Ortiz bounced past the Bruins wall and Pfeiffer poked it home at 39 minutes.
Sophomore Michael Perkins put a corner kick in fine loca-tion for Olson to score his sec-ond goal at 44 minutes. Wood River keeper Kyle Weller (11 saves) kept his team in the hunt with two saves. Danny Graves chipped a lead pass ahead to Pfeiffer, who was taken down in the box and made the penalty.
At 72 minutes, another run by Pfeiffer ended up on the foot of sophomore Jack Seiller, who centered to Ortiz for the 3-2 go-ahead goal. Wood River players then got caught flat-footed after a collision where the play wasn’t whistled dead. Bruins senior Taylor Haman kept running and scored the tying goal with two minutes left.
Monjaras said, “We can’t just stop playing on a play like that.” Despite the 3-3 tie, Wood River still mounted pressure, but Twin Falls soph keeper Ryan Walters (7 saves) robbed Ortiz with a minute left to pre-serve the tie after 80 minutes.
In the shootout, junior Sage Kelly and senior Eron Bates, back from an injury, succeeded on the first two Wood River shots. Twin Falls senior Axel Pihl converted his team’s third attempt after Weller made two diving stops. Weller made one more save, but Walters also made two stops, and Haman of Twin Falls drilled the 10th and final kick to leave it at 2-2.
The Wolverine boys host Burley (1-8-1, 0-5-1) today and travel to Rexburg for a game against Madison (3-3-2) Satur-day. Madison has beaten Bon-neville 3-2, a team the Wolver-ines has also nipped 4-3.
At Twin Falls, the Bruins applied much of the first-half pressure but Wood River freshman Jesse Cole (18 goals season) scored first on a Sammi Sutton pass at 22 minutes.
Sophomore Lindsey Wil-liams of Twin Falls equalized four minutes later and put the Bruins ahead 2-1 early in the second half. Sutton took a Jesse Cole feed for the 2-2 tie at 72 minutes.
Making their kicks for Wood River in the shootout were, in succession, junior Timber Kelly, Sutton, Jesse Cole, jun-ior Olivia Thornton and junior Rory Cole. During regulation play the shots were pretty even, 22-21 favoring Twin Falls.
The Wood River girls visit Burley (2-8-0, 1-5-0) today, host Madison (2-4-1) Saturday, Sept. 28 at 11 a.m. and entertain Can-yon Ridge in a pivotal game Monday, Sept. 30. Madison has beaten Bonneville 2-0, and the Wood River girls won at Bon-neville 4-0 on Sept. 14.