Friday, September 19, 2014

Wolverines storm back, stun Riverhawks 4-1

Great Basin boys’ soccer race tightens

Wood River sophomore Clay Cutler chases down a ball, backed by sophomore Nathan Lambert, during the 4-1 Wolverine league win over Canyon Ridge Tuesday in Twin Falls. Courtesy photo by John Koth

     There was no indication based on recent play that the Wood River High boys’ varsity soccer team was going to play well against unbeaten Canyon Ridge in Twin Falls Tuesday—no less win the game.

     But you can’t measure heart and desire based on past results, and coach Luis Monjaras’ Wolverines got their winning jerseys back in a big way for their first road triumph of the 2014 campaign.

     Freshman attacker Jose Quinonez capitalized on well-placed through balls from teammates on counterattacks to score his first three-goal hat trick. The Wolverines soundly beat Canyon Ridge 4-1 in Great Basin Conference match-up.

     “All the boys played their hearts out,” said Monjaras. “We have had some troubles on the soccer pitch, but today was a better day.”

     Quinonez scored in the 20th, 26th and 60th minutes for a 3-1 Hailey lead. Junior Yuri McClure added a fourth goal in the 68th for the 4-1 final. Wood River led 2-1 at halftime. The Riverhawks drew closer scoring in the 35th minute.

     Wood River (4-4-0, 2-2-0, 6 points) snapped a two-game losing skid in which Twin Falls and Burley staggered last year’s State 4A runner-up from Hailey by lopsided 4-0 and 4-1 scores. Canyon Ridge (8-1-0, 3-1-0, 9 points) had been averaging nearly five goals a game.

     Strong defense sparked the complete team effort as senior sweeper Jon Scott returned to the action from an injury. He and his back mates got vital support and needed it against the potent ‘Hawks attack.

     The coach said, “Our defense had plenty of help from our midfielders, so their work was minimized. Our boys contained their attack by not stabbing and by being patient, by shifting and by regaining possession right away.

     “They hustled, covered each other and most importantly, scored and finished the opportunities we had. Canyon Ridge did have more shots than we did, but Kyle (senior goalkeeper Weller) had some great saves. The boys executed the plan well today.”

     Wood River improved its six-season record over the Riverhawks to 12-2-1 and tightened up the league standings.

     Having won at Jerome in a shootout Sept. 11, Canyon Ridge is now tied with defending State 4A champ Jerome (6-1-0, 3-1-0) atop the league. Wood River is tied with Twin Falls (3-5-2, 2-2-0), which lost 6-0 at home to Jerome Tuesday.

     The Minico Spartans (1-6-1, 1-3-0) made sure that each team has at least one win, beating Burley (2-5-0, 1-3-0) in a shootout 3-2 Tuesday.

     Wood River had another challenge at Jerome Thursday to finish the first half of the league schedule. After Thursday, the Wolverines have three of their final five league games at home, where they’re 3-1-0.

     “Our strategy has been to improve game to game,” Monjaras said.

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