High Desert Soccer Conference championship games will return Thursday, Oct. 17 to the Dumke Family Community School Sagewillow Campus fields in Elkhorn.

The top-seeded Sun Valley Community School girls’ and boys’ soccer teams face familiar foes when the state tournament-qualifying games are played Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on the two fields in the Sagewillow complex.

Coach Kelly Feldman’s unbeaten Cutthroat girls (16-0-2) will face off against the No. 2-seeded Kimberly Bulldogs (10-3-1) in a rematch of last year’s HDSC title game won by the Cutthroats 8-1 on the Elkhorn pitch.

The Cutthroat girls will be aiming for their 11th consecutive HDSC tournament championship against the team they beat 3-1 (away) and 8-0 (home) during the regular season.

It could be closer this time around, with Kimberly (averaging 3.6 goals per game) bringing a three-game winning streak into the match.

But this year’s Cutthroats, outscoring opponents 118-7 in 18 games, are closing in on last year’s team’s 124-8 goals-against.

The winner of SVCS-Kimberly takes the league’s top seed into the State 3A girls’ tournament Oct. 24 at the Vallivue High School fields in Caldwell.

Tuesday in the second round of HDSC action, the Cutthroat girls won their 49th straight home game 10-0 over No. 4 Gooding (8-6-1). Top scorer Christine Estep (25 goals) scored her fourth three-goal hat trick.

“Player of the Game” Alli Rathfon (12 goals season) added two goals. So did Falon Hanna and red-hot Tatum Minor (16 goals season, 12 in the last eight games). Rylee Whorton scored a penalty kick. Gretel Huss assisted.

The semi-final contest was scoreless until the 35th minute when senior Rathfon broke the ice with two quick goals to end the first half.

Sun Valley’s 14th shutout of the season was also the team’s seventh straight, extending its string of scoreless minutes to 560.

In Tuesday’s other semi-final, Kimberly nipped No. 3 Wendell 3-2.

The winner of Thursday’s Gooding-Wendell knockout game plays the loser of Thursday’s SVCS-Kimberly game for the second state tournament berth from the High Desert league Saturday, Oct. 19.

SVCS boys face Bliss again

Sun Valley Community School boys realize they are no shoo-ins for the school’s fifth HDSC tournament championship in the last six years.

Coach Richard Whitelaw’s boys tied the No. 2-seeded Bliss Bears 1-1 in their last meeting at Bliss Oct. 5. The Cutthroats needed a Ridley Lindstrom goal to beat Bliss 1-0 in the 2018 HDSC championship game on the same Browning Field.

The respect between the two programs is well established, and Bliss is well aware that the Cutthroats are the reigning State 3A tournament champions—since SVCS defeated Bliss 3-1 in last year’s final at Twin Falls.

Unbeaten in their last 17 games, the Cutthroat boys (15-1-2) downed No. 4 Wendell (7-8-2) by a 5-2 score Tuesday in the Browning Field semi-final game. Meanwhile, Bliss held off No. 3 Gooding (10-5-1) by 2-1.

Scoring two goals apiece for the Cutthroats were top scorer Cash Dart (24 goals season, having scored in 14 of 18 games) and Fletcher Stumph (9 goals). “Man of the Match” Ridley Lindstrom (20 goals season, scoring in 13 of 18 games) added a single.

Entering Thursday’s first-place game, Bliss (12-4-3) is unbeaten in its last eight games. But Wendell was a hot team as well, having won seven of nine games after a 0-5-2 start before its Tuesday visit to Elkhorn.

The winner of SVCS-Bliss will take the top High Desert seed into the Oct. 24 State 3A tournament on the Vallivue fields. The loser will play again Saturday for a state berth, against the winner of Thursday’s Wendell-Gooding knockout game.

Email the writer: sports@mtexpress.com

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