Friday, October 3, 2014

Cutthroats leave no doubt 4-0 over Senators

Dominant soccer effort at Browning Field

Express Staff Writer

Community School senior Roger Figge (right) sidesteps a Gooding defender during Wednesday’s 4-0 Cutthroat win. Photo by Roland Lane

     The Community School boys’ soccer team struck early and never relented in beating the two-time defending State 3A tournament champion Gooding Senators 4-0 Wednesday at Browning Field.

     Roger Figge and Johnny Blackburn scored in the first half, and Keegan Whitelaw and Jay Fitzgerald added second-half insurance with senior goalkeeper Willis Sanchez-duPont (11 saves) locking the door in the dark.

     Whitelaw and Fitzgerald each had two assists as the Cutthroats dominated the shots 22-8 including 11-1 in the first half. The home team had an overwhelming 10-1 edge in corner kicks because of its game-long offensive pressure.

     Joining Sanchez-duPont as coach Richard Whitelaw’s “Men of the Match” for the evening with brilliant control in the midfield were senior-sophomore brothers Roger Figge and Dehner Figge.

     “We were first to the ball, dominated the midfield and shut down Gooding’s potent attack,” said coach Whitelaw.

     Junior Keegan Whitelaw, son of the 23rd-year Cutthroat coach, had his best career game in the midfield—reaching nearly every ball first and distributing extremely well, along with the quick-footed Figge brothers.

     It was the third straight High Desert Soccer Conference shutout victory for the Cutthroats, and the seventh whitewash of the 13-game season in which they’ve scored 78 goals so far.

     And it was the first Community School shutout of Gooding since the 2011 State 3A tournament, when Whitelaw’s 12-5-2 squad (scoring just 42 goals in 19 games) blanked the Senators 3-0 on its way to the state consolation championship.

     “Super, super effort by all players,” said the Cutthroat coach. “Probably the best soccer that we have played in many a long day, in front of a large, appreciative crowd.

     “The first half in particular was superb.”

     Keegan Whitelaw set the tone when in the second minute he raced to the flag and made a super cross to the box. Roger Figge tapped it home for his second goal in two games, and second of the season.

     Whenever dangerous Gooding strikers Ivan Sarabia and Filiberto Gallegos threatened to slip away and score, keeper Sanchez-duPont was a pillar of strength all night. So was the unyielding defense of Jack Swanson, Trenor Gould and Garrett Rawlings.

     Sanchez-duPont saved Sarabia’s first attempt at six minutes and that turned out to be the only Senator shot of the first half. The Cutthroats controlled the ball 80% of the time with an 8-0 corner kick edge.

     A build-up from Dehner Figge to Rawlings went up to the foot of speedy Cutthroat leading scorer Jay Fitzgerald in the corner to the right of Gooding freshman goalkeeper Joel Mora (11 saves). Fitzgerald fished it out of the corner and centered to Johnny Blackburn. He headed it home for a 2-0 lead at 13 minutes.

     Coach Roger Johnson’s veteran Senators, with seven seniors, made adjustments at half and came out smoking.

     Sanchez-duPont was ready.

     He made a great save slapping away a Gallegos breakaway just two minutes after the half. Gooding’s Robert Hernandez had a wide-open net on the rebound, and grasped his head when he shot the ball just wide, no good.

     Roger Figge’s corner kick in the 47th minute rattled around in the box. Fitzgerald got turned around, but discovered it at his feet and tapped it over to Whitelaw. Whitelaw made no mistake for his fifth goal of the season and fourth in the last three games.

     Two minutes later Whitelaw teed up a long free kick after a Gooding handball. Fitzgerald poked it home for his team-high 24th goal—making it 12 times in 13 games he has scored. Shortly after making it 4-0, Fitzgerald hit the post with a header after a well-placed Roger Figge cross.

     With darkness creeping in, dwindling time turned into a Sanchez-duPont highlight reel. After Gallegos hit the post at 68 minutes, the Sun Valley keeper stopped his attack at 73—and punched a Sarabia free kick from outside the box safely over the net.

     Gooding, with 47 goals in its first 12 games, was blanked for the first time all season.

     With three league games remaining, the Cutthroats (10-3-0, 8-1-0, 24 points) put themselves in solid position for one of the top two seeds for the seven-team HDSC tournament starting Saturday, Oct. 11. Gooding (7-4-2, 7-3-1, 22 points) has played two more league games than the Cutthroats.

     The Wendell Trojans (8-0-2, 26 points) stretched their lead with Wednesday’s 8-1 home victory over Declo (0-11-0). Battling to a 3-3 tie Wednesday were Bliss (2-6-1, 7 points) and Filer (6-7-1, 4-5-1, 13 points).

     The Cutthroat boys traveled to Bliss Thursday, go to Filer Monday and visit Wendell Thursday, Oct. 9.


Gooding girls surprise Cutthroats with 1-1 tie

     Very few people thought the Gooding Senators had a chance of playing competitively with the five-time defending HDSC tournament champion Community School girls on Wednesday at Browning Field.

     After all, in nine seasons that Gooding has been playing prep girls’ soccer, Cutthroat teams boasted a 21-0-0 overall record and 171-4 scoring advantage with 18 shutouts entering Wednesday’s apparent HDSC mismatch.

     Yet coach Manuel Gallegos’ Senators sent a message with a 2-2 tie against Gooding Sept. 22. And unheralded Gooding came up big once again at Sun Valley on Wednesday.

     The Senators (5-3-3, 18 points) tied the Community School 1-1 and gave coach Kelly Feldman’s Cutthroats (8-2-1, 8-0-1, 25 points) a wake-up call entering the seven-team tournament next week.

     Sophomore Megan Casanas scored for Gooding and senior Josie Allison tallied the lone goal for the Cutthroats, who entered the game averaging 4.6 goals per game this fall.

     “Player of the Game” for the Cutthroats was senior defender Sydney Hagenbuch.

     The Cutthroats tried to nail down the top seed for the tournament on Thursday with a big game at second-place Bliss (7-1-1, 22 points). Bliss defeated Filer (8-5-0, 6-4-0, 18 points) by a 6-0 score Wednesday. Earlier this season, the Cutthroats edged Bliss by a 2-1 score.

     Gooding and Filer will settle third place in the conference when they meet at Gooding Wednesday, Oct. 8. The Cutthroats travel to Filer Monday, Oct. 6 and finish up their slate at Wendell Oct. 9.

     The league tournament cracks open Saturday, Oct. 11 in Twin Falls.

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