Members of the 2014 Wood River High School varsity soccer team wait for customers Wednesday during a car wash to raise money for new sweat-shirts and a possible trip to northern Idaho for this year’s State 4A girls’ tournament.
Express photo by Roland Lane
Doug Stouffer has returned as Wood River High School’s girls’ soccer varsity coach with the Wolverines trying to make it 19 consecutive trips to state soccer and 19 straight years with 10 or more wins.
No coach knows more about the highly successful Wood River girls’ soccer program than Stouffer. He is entering his 15th season guiding the Hailey girls—four as varsity coach (2000-03) and the last 10 as junior varsity head coach.
Stouffer, who amassed a 90-30-4 overall record as JV coach, said about his 20-player varsity squad including nine seniors, “The 2014 team seems like they have some unfinished business from last year.
“We have some team goals like returning to the state competition but there is also an underlying strong desire to unseat the Twin Falls Bruins from the district champion pedestal they have held for a number of years.”
Wood River (12-7-1 last fall) opens its 14-game regular-season schedule on Saturday, Aug. 23 with a non-conference game against the 5A Highland Rams in Pocatello.
The Wolverines will then host two non-conference games next week—on Tuesday, Aug. 26 against the 5A Madison Bobcats and Thursday, Aug. 28 against the 4A Bonneville Bees, both at South Valley Sports Complex soccer field in Hailey.
Stouffer will know better where the Wolverines stand when they host Twin Falls on Tuesday, Sept. 9 and then entertain another worthy challenger in the Canyon Ridge Riverhawks Tuesday, Sept. 16.
Twin Falls (14-5-1 last year) has won three straight Great Basin Conference 4A tournament championships and has a 6-0-3 record over Wood River in games played between the league rivals since 2010. The two teams met in the 2013 State 4A tourney consolation game, Twin Falls winning 4-0.
Highland has a whammy over Wood River, too.
The Rams (14-3-2 last year) have won six straight games over Wood River by a combined 22-7 count including last fall’s 5-2 victory in Hailey. The Wolverines last beat Highland five years ago.
Yet Stouffer, who coached Wood River to its last state title in 2000, doesn’t discount what a strong group of seniors and an experienced striker can accomplish on the soccer pitch.
He said, “I think the team this year is a mixed bag of senior leadership and experience—combined with some younger girls with talent and speed and a hunger to contribute for success.
“Timber Kelly should be expected to lead the defense as long as she can stay healthy. Rory Cole will be returning after two consecutive years recovering from ACL injuries.
“The anchor for the offense will be on the shoulders of sophomore Jesse Cole who had 31 goals last year. One concern with the team is our young goalkeepers with little experience at the varsity level.”
Kelly was former coach Jenni Conrad’s “Defensive Player of the Year” and she was voted the All-Conference top defensive player. Jesse Cole and senior Lucy Brannon (13 goals last year, 33 career) made first-team All-League in 2013.
Returning are Conrad’s top two offensive players, seniors Samantha Sutton (27 career goals) and Brigette Thomas, along with “Most Inspirational” Rory Cole, also a senior.
“Most Improved” Olivia Thornton, a strong defender, is back for another year, along with some strong runners in seniors Megan Murphy, Kenya Schott and Tatum Morell.
Sandpoint (13-3-4) is the new reigning State 4A champ, having dethroned Bishop Kelly of Boise (21-1-1) by a 1-0 score in October’s championship game—ending Bishop Kelly’s 89-game unbeaten streak. The Knights had won three straight state titles and five in six years. Sandpoint prevailed for the first time since 2009.
Head coach—Doug Stouffer (5th year, 54-19-8 as head varsity coach at the 3A level from 2000-03).
Assistant coach—Kelley Sinnott.
Seniors (9)—Lucy Brannon, Rory Cole, Timber Kelly, Tatum Morell, Megan Murphy, Kenya Schott, Samantha Sutton, Brigette Thomas and Olivia Thornton.
Juniors (3)—Ashley Carnduff, Caitlyn Sfingi and Galena Hansen.
Sophomores (4)—Jesse Cole, Megan Johnston, Sage Rheinschild and Molly Whittington (GK).
Freshmen (4)—Scout Hutchinson (GK), Emerson McCune, Emily Thayer and Christina Vega.
Juniors (4)—Riley Boice, Alina Svidgal, Alex Garcia and Lexy Jones.
Sophomores (5)—Michele Casas, Nicole Shardlow, Abby Robideaux, America Tamayo, Abby Robideaux and Bailey Holter.
Freshmen (12)—Sarah Truxal, Leah Thayer, Liliana Gil Salinas, Oyuki Diaz, Cassidy Carter, Dylan Porth, Sydney Roberts, Anika Lyons, Libby Kaiser, Lupita Patlan, Kayla Chaffey and Madeline Austin.