Mounting a determined comeback in the final five minutes, the Wood River High School boys’ varsity soccer team defeated the reigning Great Basin Conference champion Jerome Tigers 3-2 on Wednesday night in the Jerome football stadium.
Wood River spoiled Jerome’s “Senior Night” when seniors Jose Ortiz and Zac Miczulski scored goals in the final five minutes. The outcome put Wood River and Jerome in a third-place GBC tie with 15 points apiece, with one game left.
Jerome, a 3-0 winner over Wood River in Hailey Sept. 16, had scored twice in the second half for a 2-1 lead. The visitors were awarded a penalty kick in the second half and missed the shot. Earlier, Wood River had the lead. Senior defender Miguel Velasco Martinez put Hailey on top 1-0 in the 35th minute.
Wood River coach Luis Monjaras, alluding to his team’s 2-0 league loss at Canyon Ridge Monday, said about Wednesday’s more favorable result, “Overall, a totally different team today. We played as a team and were very motivated.
“Our goal is to carry this energy and mentality into the district tournament.”
The Wolverines (6-2-4, 4-2-3 league) have their “Senior Night” against Minico (2-11-1, 0-8-1) on Monday, Oct. 7. That’s the same day that coach Wes Nyblade’s resurgent Burley Bobcats (3-10-1, 1-7-1, 4 points) entertain Jerome (7-4-0, 5-4-0).
A Wood River win and a Jerome loss Monday would likely give Hailey the third seed and a first-round home tournament game against No. 6-seed Minico Thursday, Oct. 10.
Coming off two shutout wins, Burley pushed Twin Falls to a 2-2 tie before the host Bruins won 4-3 on kicks Wednesday.
Twin Falls (6-4-2, 6-1-2, 20 points) can clinch the top tourney seed with a three-point win at Canyon Ridge (11-1-1, 7-1-1, 22 points) Monday. Canyon Ridge blanked Minico 4-0 Wednesday.
Cole provides decisive goals
On a day when scoring was tough to come by, Wood River freshman Jesse Cole provided the winning margin for the Wolverines in their 2-0 GBC “Senior Night” victory over a formidable bunch of Jerome Tigers Wednesday on the Hailey pitch.
Cole scored a goal in each half and improved her season total to 23 goals, moving the speedy striker into a tie for eighth place on the all-time Wood River single-season scoring list. Cole has scored goals in 10 of the 13 Wolverine games.
Playing without second-leading scorer Lucy Brannon (concussion) for a third straight game, Wood River out-shot the Tigers 8-2 before half and 17-3 overall. Jerome did well challenging each ball in the first 20 minutes and applied offensive threats. And the Wolverines piled up unforced errors.
Cole finally broke through at 29 minutes, finishing after a Brigette Thomas lead pass to Tayte Kelly forced the Tiger keeper out of the net on Kelly’s shot and resulted in a loose ball.
Hailey junior backs Olivia Thornton and Timber Kelly were important stopping the attacks and senior Emilia Bingham did well filling in for the injured Julisa Vega at left back. Also strong was the Tiger defense led by senior Ashley Cox and senior keeper Taylor Hill (7 saves first half, 11 game).
Earning her fifth shutout was Wood River senior keeper Laurel Gaeddert (3 saves). The Wolverines had beaten Jerome 9-2 Sept. 16, but the Tigers (3-8-2, 3-6-0, 9 points) have shown much progress. They won most of the 50-50 balls before the half.
Wood River (8-4-1, 7-1-1 league, 22 points) clinched the second seed in next week’s Great Basin Conference tournament and will play its first tourney game Saturday, Oct. 12 at SunWay Soccer Complex in Twin Falls. The Wolverines visit Minico (0-12-0, 0-9-0) for their regular-season finale Monday, Oct. 7 in Rupert.
The top seed is two-time defending league champ Twin Falls (8-3-1, 8-0-1, 25 points), a 4-0 winner at Burley (3-10-0, 2-7-0, 6 points) Wednesday. Third-seeded Canyon Ridge (9-5-0, 6-3-0, 18 points), a likely foe for Wood River in next Saturday’s tourney game, romped 8-0 at home over Minico Wednesday.