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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of November 6 - 12, 2002


Hailey boys save 
best for last

Step up, place second at state

Express Staff Writer

The strengths of the Wood River High School boys’ soccer program under coach Brian Daluiso have been passing, defense and a remarkable ability to step up and save its best efforts for the most pressure-packed situations.

Wood River, saving its best for last, played its best games of the 2002 season last weekend during the State 3A soccer tournament in snowy and icy Pocatello. And once again a Wood River boys’ team played in the state championship.

Defense wins championships, and Wood River’s defense came very close to a title—exemplified by the hustle and goalmouth scrambling of, from left, Mike Sinnott, keeper K.C. Rivera, Kyle Risner and Tate Mills. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Beating Shelley 3-2 in overtime Thursday and stuffing previously-unbeaten Snake River 2-0 in Friday’s semi-final, Wood River (14-4-3) earned a berth in its fifth consecutive state championship contest, against Payette.

Wood River lost badly to Payette 6-1 in last year’s state championship at Buhl. This year, the Wolverines pushed the speedy Pirates (18-3, 81-21 goals-against) to the limit before falling 2-1 in the final.

Daluiso said, "It was heartbreaking, especially after being up 1-0. To play like we did, especially against a team like Payette, showed me something. No one could have asked for a more hard-fought game.

"The guys were really pumped up. My whole thing is to aim for the state tournament. All season I keep hammering away at them about state. So many of our guys had their best games in last weekend’s three-day period."

The outstanding player of the championship game for Wood River was senior sweeper Kyle Risner, who teamed up with senior back Mike Sinnott to turn away counterattack after counterattack by Payette.

"Kyle played great. Matt Hansen and Mike played well, too," said Daluiso about his primary defenders.

Daluiso was impressed with the way Wood River withstood an early flurry by Payette and took control of the game from the middle of the first half, through the middle of the second half. Indeed, the Wolverines led 1-0.

"I was worried right at the start of the game. We were hunkering down and getting shelled by Payette," said Daluiso. "That changed once we started playing our game and working the ball around."

Vanquished Snake River coach Jim Wilcox had praised Wood River for "passing us to death," in Friday’s semi-final. That’s what happened when the Wolverines organized their offense against Payette.

It got the go-ahead goal.

Junior Chase Cleveland, hustling very hard in the midfield, started the attack with a lead pass down the left wing to another junior, Tate Mills. Both Mills and speedy right wing Slater Storey applied a ton of pressure on their state tournament foes all weekend.

Mills earned a corner kick, which he dropped into a hole in Payette’s defense right in front of senior goalkeeper Ronnie Rhinehardt. Cleveland alertly filled the hole, catching the ball just as it hit the ground and one-timing it into the net at 38 minutes.

The goal further energized Wood River’s defense. But Payette, with its 10 seniors, had a dream of back-to-back state championships and picked up its already-fast pace.

Sixteen minutes into the second half Payette senior defender Chris Cabrera sent a lead pass up the left wing to Victor Cisneros, who beat the Wood River defense and keeper K.C. Rivera for a 1-1 game.

From then on, Payette’s increased offensive pressure made it just a matter of time. "Foul after foul—we gave away too many corner kicks. It was almost inevitable," said Daluiso, who was hoping Wood River to get it into overtime.

With three minutes left in regulation, rangy Pirate midfielder Shane Thomason slipped away from Wood River’s defense in the goal area and he headed home a Cisneros corner kick for the eventual game winner.

"That corner kick was perfectly placed," said Daluiso. "We knew Payette would be strong at the end. We needed a break to regroup—I wish I could have called a time out."

Judging by a 2-2 tie against Snake River Sept. 19 and last year’s 2-1 state semi-final victory over the Panthers, Daluiso expected more of a physical game in Friday’s semi-final.

"But we owned Snake River. We controlled the middle of the field. They played kick-and-run, but didn’t have much in the way of offense. It was still a tough game, but we were able to move the ball around and move it outside," Daluiso said.

Jorge Giribet-Canto and Shane Cordeau scored in Wood River’s 2-0 win. Daluiso said, "Their left back couldn’t handle Slater (Storey). It was standard Wood River—we missed a lot of opportunities."

Thursday was "survival day," for Wood River, because of the snow and cold and because Shelley turned out to be a tougher-than-expected test, according to Daluiso.

A Chase Cleveland centering pass was redirected by Giribet-Canto into the Russet net for a 1-0 Hailey lead at 10 minutes. Shelley’s Ismael Vega equalized at 23 minutes, then Bracken Abrams took a Freddy Galvan pass for a 2-1 Russet lead just three minutes after the half.

Wood River had a bunch of chances, but it wasn’t until Cleveland pounded a clutch winner past keeper Julian Milano at 38 minutes that the Wolverines forced an overtime.

Keeper Luke Speer made a couple of solid saves. The Wolverines scored the game winner near the end of the first 10-minute overtime. The play went from K.C. Rivera to Tate Mills and then to top scorer Maicol Corrales, who finished.

Having dodged a bullet, Wood River marched on.

"I couldn’t be more pleased with my team. We peaked at the end and left it all on the field. It was another great season," said Daluiso.

The team banquet is next Monday at Rico’s in Ketchum.

·  Wood River (80 goals for/28 against)—Maicol Corrales 20, Jorge Giribet-Canto 18, Brandon Epp 11, Tate Mills 7, Chase Cleveland 6, Shane Cordeau 6, Marcus Acker 5, K.C. Rivera 3, Mike Sinnott 2, Robert Slough 1.

WOLVERINE NOTES—Daluiso’s six-year coaching record is 77-21-10 including 14-5-2 at six state tournaments…Theresa Comber, mother of keeper Luke Speer, played the squeaky wheel and called the Bannock County Commissioners office Thursday to make sure the snowy field would be swept in time for Friday’s games….Payette and Wood River had contrasting styles, Daluiso said. "We try to work it up the middle, and they use their speed to get it up the field."



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