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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of  September 19 - 25, 2001


Team effort lifts Cutthroat girls 2-1 in shocker

Rare win over Wood River rivals

Express Sports Writer

The Community School girls played the game of their lives.

Taking on defending state champion Wood River at the new Sagewillow Farms soccer complex last Wednesday, the Cutthroats pulled off a jaw-dropping 2-1 victory.

Krista Burns of Wood River (left) finds it hard to get past Erika Connelly of The Community School during Wednesday’s 2-1 upset win for the host Cutthroats. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Even Sun Valley faithful were caught off guard in their first home game on the new field.

"I can’t believe it," assistant coach Kelly Feldman said. "It is a very sweet surprise."

The Community School girls have not beaten Wood River since 1996, so no one saw it coming, least of all Wood River players.

Wolverine co-captain Brisa Ayub said, "They wanted it more than us. They wanted it and they showed it."

Wolverine striker Robin Kearns scored the game’s opening goal. Sun Valley equalized when Langely McNeal broke through and punched home a perfect 25-yard rainbow.

Shortly before the half, McNeal and Erika Connelly executed a give-and-go downfield and McNeal’s shot was deflected by Wood River goalie Kelly Haisley. Cutthroat Kim Brown redirected the rebound into the back of the net for a 2-1 advantage.

It became the winning goal because of the strong Cutthroat defense.

"Langely had a great game," coach Mark Kranwinkle said. "She’s a senior captain and she played like it."

Shots were even in the first half, each team taking three, but in the second half, Wood River fired off 11 shots to the Cutthroats four.

Cutthroat keeper Kristen Hickey had a stellar game, making point-blank saves on shots by Katie Dondero, Kipp Mills and Kearns and batting away a shot by Ashley Howe with the back of her hand.

But Wood River rarely had a clear look at the goal, as the Cutthroat defense—sweeper Lexie Praggastis, fullbacks Pauli Ochi and Abby Minford and stopper Morgan Arritola—tracked down ball after ball and shut down the passing lanes.

"Our defense was great," Kranwinkle said. "I thought they were super and Morgan was huge. She kept the intensity going."

Wood River’s game went in fits and starts, but the highly-touted Hailey squad was never able to settle into a groove and saw its advantage shrink to 7-2-3 in the six-season, 12-game rivalry with Sun Valley.

"I think our team played the right kind of game," Feldman said. "We didn’t go into the game thinking we were going to lose, but we had nothing to lose."

Kranwinkle concurred, "We told the girls to play hard and play with heart and that is what they did."

It is easy to let down after a big win and at Declo Saturday, the Hornets scored against the Cutthroats in the opening minute of the game.

"We were on our heels, but the girls sucked it up. Langely came out firing on all cylinders," Kranwinkle said.

In 20 minutes, the Cutthroats built a 5-1 lead on three goals by McNeal and two by Connelly. Cassidy Doucette, Amy Alexander and Morgan Arritola chipped in with single goals in an 8-3 league triumph.

"It was a great team effort by all 20 girls," Kranwinkle remarked.

The Community School (3-4 overall, 3-1 league) is home to Mountain Home this Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Elkhorn field.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.