Wednesday, October 22, 2014

State 3A girls’ soccer: Is this the Cutthroat year?

Tournament is anyone’s to take

Express Staff Writer

With three-time defending champion McCall-Donnelly struggling down the homestretch to a human-like 11-5-1 campaign, it appears the State 3A girls’ soccer tournament in Twin Falls Oct. 23-25 is up for grabs.

     All the Vandals did in the last two prep seasons was amass a nearly untouchable 36-2-1 mark and blast out a very good Community School Cutthroat squad 6-0 in last year’s State 3A championship game in Caldwell.

     This fall, the Vandals started 8-1-1 and went 3-4 in their last seven games, scoring only 12 goals in those seven. They nipped Emmett 2-1 in overtime in the 3rd District title game—and Emmett didn’t even make the eight-team field for the state tourney.

     It gives some hope to the rest of the field that includes strong entries from eastern Idaho and northern Idaho, along with the always-tough Cutthroats from Sun Valley—making their 16th visit to the state tournament since 1996, and 14th straight state trip.

     That’s without a state championship to show for it. Is this the year after two straight second places and an outstanding 10-5 record at state in the last five seasons?

     Possibly, although Sun Valley fields a young team that relies much on speedy freshman scoring threat Ella Viesturs (30 goals). She has six three-goal hat tricks, all coming in the last nine games, and has scored goals in 13 of the 16 Cutthroat contests.

     Unbeaten in 11 straight games, the Cutthroats (12-2-2) qualified as the No. 1 seed out of the seven-team 4th District into the Idaho High School Activities Association State 3A tourney Thursday through Saturday at SunWay Soccer Complex in Twin Falls.

     The Cutthroats open their state quest Thursday at 2 p.m. against 6th District runner-up Shelley (14-2-1), a high-scoring squad with 93 goals. In contrast, the Cutthroats have 67. The Russets lost 1-0 to Sugar-Salem in their district championship, and beat Malad 2-1 in a state play-in game.

     On the same side of the Cutthroat bracket is Sugar-Salem (15-1-2) playing Coeur d’Alene Charter (14-2-1) from northern Idaho, also at 2 p.m. Thursday.

     CDA Charter beat northern Idaho champ Timberlake 3-0 and 4-0 in the season, then suffered its only shutout loss 1-0 to Timberlake in the district final. Last year’s State 3A consolation champ CDA Charter then eliminated Fruitland 2-1 in a state play-in.

     Timberlake (10-4-1) plays Bliss (12-2-2) at 11 a.m. Thursday, at the same time McCall-Donnelly meets eastern Idaho champion Marsh Valley (14-2-3). McCall is the only team in the field to have won a state championship since IHSAA sanctioning started in 2000.



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