A solid 3-0 shutout victory over Columbia of Nampa was the memorable performance of Wood River High School’s three-day visit to the State 4A girls’ soccer tournament Thursday through Saturday at Caldwell’s Brothers Park soccer complex.
Making its 19th trip to state, Wood River (12-7-1) also lost to eventual state runner-up Bishop Kelly of Boise by an 8-1 score Thursday and to Great Basin Conference rival Twin Falls (14-5-1) by a 4-0 score in Saturday’s consolation final.
Wood River out-shot Columbia (10-9-3) by a dominating 12-4 count and had 9 direct kicks in the first half of Friday’s loser-out game. Leading scorer Jesse Cole scored both goals on aggressive runs at the net after direct kicks by Sammi Sutton and Timber Kelly, both credited with assists.
Sutton, who scored her team’s only goal against Bishop Kelly, also missed a penalty kick in the first half against Columbia’s Wildcats. Senior goalkeeper Laurel Gaeddert (9 saves) posted the shutout with help of defenders Timber Kelly, Olivia Thornton, Kenya Schott and Megan Johnston.
Wood River couldn’t generate the same kind of offensive pressure against the veteran Twin Falls defenders Saturday and finished 0-2-1 in its three games with the GBC champs.
Fifth-year Wood River coach Jenni Conrad (67-28-5) said, “We have had quite a season with injuries and sicknesses so I was extremely proud of the girls to fight through the season to make it to state. Not only did we get there we had the heart and drive to make it to the consolation finals.
“I have seen a lot of growth with these girls since the beginning of the season and they really came together as a team to win that second game against Columbia. We have a very strong group of juniors this year so next year should be the year that they earn the district title back.
“Our district has been getting stronger and stronger each year with teams like Twin Falls, Canyon Ridge, and Jerome which is a great thing for our program. The more competition we get, the better chance we have at not only competing at the state level but being contenders to bring home the state title.”
The 4A tournament’s biggest upset came Saturday afternoon when the Sandpoint Bulldogs (13-3-4) ended the 89-game unbeaten streak of three-time defending champ Bishop Kelly (21-1-1) by a 1-0 score on a Sierra Scott goal in the 31st minute of the state championship game at Middleton High School.
Sandpoint tucked away its sixth State 4A title, but first since 2009. It was during that 2009 tourney won by Sandpoint 7-2 over Kuna that the Bulldogs opened with a 3-2 golden goal overtime win over Bishop Kelly. That was the last time the Knights lost before Saturday’s classic duel.
Meanwhile, sophomore Maddy Watts, who grew up in the Wood River Valley, played a big role for the Boise High girls (18-2-1) in their 2013 State 5A championship march—the sixth title for Braves coach Chris Siegenthaler.
The Wolverine team banquet is today, Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Elkhorn Supper Club.
· Final team statistics: Wood River 12-7-1 (5-4-0 home, 7-3-1 away, 8-1-1 league for #2 seed, 2nd place in GBC tournament) with 8 shutouts in 20 games. Goals scored: 81 (4.1 per game). Goals against: 37 (1.9). Individual scoring: Jesse Cole 31 (5 hat tricks, scored in 13 of 20 games, No. 4 all-time for Wolverine single-season goals), Lucy Brannon 13, Sammi Sutton 9, Tayte Kelly 7, Tate Morell 6, Brigette Thomas 3, Ashley Carnduff 3, Megan Johnston 2, Emilia Bingham 2, Timber Kelly 1, Olivia Thornton 1, Rory Cole 1, Laurel Gaeddert 1, Cheyanne Stopol 1.