The outcome was closer than expected Tuesday when the youthful Community School girls’ soccer team hosted a strong Bliss Bears side on the Sagewillow Farms pitch.
Speedy Bliss senior striker Anna Orr scored in the second minute and the unbeaten Bears had the Cutthroats on their heels for much of the first half.
Trailing 1-0 at half, the Cutthroats nevertheless scored twice in the first eight minutes after intermission and secured a 2-1 league victory.
Both Cutthroat goal scorers in the team’s first home win of 2014 were freshmen—Molly Milgard after a cross pass from junior Hannah Conn in the 43rd minute, and Ella Viesturs on a rebound of her own testing blast in the 48th minute.
Cutthroat coach Kelly Feldman said, “We’re still struggling with personnel between injuries and getting kids back. We had just 13 players today.
“But we’re getting solid efforts from new kids like (junior) Ella Pepin. Freshmen like Molly, Ella Viesturs and Anik Zarkos are really stepping up.”
Feldman’s Cutthroats (3-1-0, 3-0-0 league) out-shot Bliss 12-3 in the second half, several of the shots by Co-Player of the Game Viesturs. That was after the two teams played evenly in the first half, with the Cutthroats boasting a 6-5 edge in the shooting department.
Bliss (2-1-0, 2-1-0), third in the High Desert Soccer Conference league tourney last year, dropped its first game after 8-1 and 11-0 league wins over Declo and Gooding. Bears coach Brenna Fisher said, “We’re excited about the season. We have a great team this year.”
The other Player of the Game for Feldman was junior keeper Olivia Ott (6 saves), who recorded 12 shutouts in 2013. Ott ably protected the net, helped by defenders Emily Siegel, Sara Runkel, Katelyn Rathfon, Conn and Zarkos.
Ott came out aggressively on a breakaway by Bliss striker Orr with five minutes left—and Orr blasted her potential game-tying shot over the Sun Valley net. “We had some good opportunities,” said Fisher.
The game’s standout player was Bliss junior goalkeeper Lupita Villavicencio (11 saves). She made nine saves in the second half alone, the most spectacular on a Josie Allison point-blank shot from the box that Villavicencio batted over the crossbar at 65 minutes.
On the eventual game-winning goal when the speed of Viesturs put her behind the Bears defense, Villavicencio also made the save on Viesturs’ first shot. But the rebound bounced back to the talented ninth-grader from Sun Valley, who tucked it in the corner.
“It’s a good group,” said Feldman. “We’re still jelling, but we started to get some pace today.”
On Wednesday, the Cutthroats made it three straight wins 3-0 at Declo. Scoring were Conn, Pepin and Viesturs. Player of the Game was ninth-grade defender Zarkos.
Another big challenge for the young Community School girls arrives Saturday, Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. on its Sagewillow home field when 4A Wood River High School arrives for a non-conference match.
With keeper Ott spinning the shutout, the Cutthroats blanked Wood River 2-0 last September in Hailey for only the fourth Sun Valley win in the 25-game series dating back to 1993. It was the first Cutthroat triumph over the Hailey girls since 2002.
The Cutthroats visit Gooding on Monday, Sept. 8 and start a five-game homestand against Filer Wednesday, Sept. 10. Feldman’s 2013 squad defeated Filer 6-1 for the school’s fifth straight High Desert tournament championship.