Unbeaten and boasting a very stingy defense, the Wood River boys’ soccer team (10-0-4, 9-0-1 league) begins the Great Basin Conference tournament Saturday, Oct. 6 with a 12 noon second-round game at SunWay Soccer Complex in Twin Falls.
Coach Luis Monjaras’ Wolverines will play the winner of Thursday’s first-round tournament opener in Rupert between No. 4-seeded Minico (5-7-3, 3-5-2) and defending league champion Burley (3-9-3, 2-6-2).
Whether or not Wood River prevails in Saturday’s game, the Wolverines because of their top-seeded status will host their next tournament game Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 4:30 p.m. at South Valley Sports Complex, Hailey.
The top two teams in the GBC tournament earn berths the State 4A competition Oct. 18-20 in Idaho Falls. The tournament winner opens up at state against the Boise-area third-place team, while the tournament runner-up meets the eastern Idaho champion.
Wood River (8-6-2 last fall) missed out on a trip to the 2011 state meet because of a tournament shootout loss to Minico. But Wolverine soccer teams have made 20 state appearances in 27 seasons. Under Monjaras Wood River made state in 2009 and 2010, earning the consolation title in 2010.
From 1998-2003 Wood River boys’ teams made the state championship game for six straight years, winning in 1998, 1999 and 2003. The 1999 team still boasts the program’s best single-season record, 13-1-3 including 13 wins to end its state championship campaign.
Last Thursday, Wood River notched the program’s 14th 10-win season in 27 soccer campaigns with a 2-0 victory at No. 6-seeded Twin Falls (3-9-3, 1-7-2).
Junior Andrew Graves scored at the 44-second mark on a pass from Alberto Salinas and senior Trevor Brand added a penalty kick early in the second half, at 48 minutes. Wood River out-shot Twin Falls 9-0 and was whistled for 10 offsides in its attacking mode. Goalkeeper Max Mauldin (5 saves) handled only unchallengeable balls, coach Monjaras said.
The outcome extended Wood River’s streak of holding foes scoreless to four-plus games and 372 minutes. The Wolverines, league winners in 2010, became the first GBC team since Jerome in 2008 to finish a league season unbeaten.
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