The host Wood River Wolverines and visiting Twin Falls Bruins couldn’t score a lick during Wednesday’s third-place knockout game of the 4A Great Basin Conference boys’ soccer tournament in Hailey.
Yet after 100 minutes of scoreless playoff soccer including two golden goal overtimes, the rivals made up for it in an epic 26-shooter, 13-round shootout that finally swung Twin Falls’ way by a score of 0-0 (10-9 kicks).
Twin Falls senior defender Tairan Smith converted his second goal of the shootout as the 25th shooter, and Wood River’s leading scorer Rafael Muñiz shot just high on his attempt to end the drama.
Wood River’s No. 2-seeded boys (12-5-3) saw their season and state tournament hopes come to an end, while No. 6-seeded Twin Falls (11-7-0) captured their second straight Great Basin tournament shootout win over a top seed.
In Pocatello Tuesday, the Bruins eliminated No. 1 Century 0-0 (4-2 kicks). Wednesday’s shootout victory for coach Carey Farnsworth’s Bruins avenged last year’s 2-0 loss to Wood River on the same field in the same GBC third-place knockout contest.
Wood River’s boys had the statistical advantage Wednesday, 14-8 in shots on goal, 16-12 in free kicks and 7-3 in corner kicks. Despite heroic efforts by senior defender Alonza Estrada and junior goalkeeper Atzel Jimenez (7 saves), Wood River just couldn’t score.
Assistant coach Eric Anderson, filling in for head coach Luis Monjaras (out of town for a school teacher meeting), summoned senior back-up goalkeeper Daniel Gonzales for the shootout, and Gonzales responded after Twin Falls went ahead 3-1 in the first five.
Gonzales dove to left and batted away the potential game-winning shot by Andre Golay of Twin Falls. Earlier, Gonzales had made a diving save on Steven Thueson’s bid.
Wood River senior co-captain Edgar Salamanca made his kick to equalize 3-3 and send the decision into the sequence of golden-goal rounds with five new players.
Sergio Varela, Tairan Smith and Jesus Herrera scored in the opening 3-3 sequence of alternating shots. Heron Barriga, Rafael Muñiz and Salamanca scored for Wood River. Twin Falls sophomore keeper Ryker Waters (9 saves in play) made one shootout save.
The two teams matched each other six times successfully in the golden-goal shootout rounds, only once missing the mark with matching stray shot attempts.
William Botch, William Preucil, Anthony Botch, Emiliano Serrano, keeper Waters and Varela again scored for Twin Falls before Smith’s gamed winner. Peter De La Cruz, Brandon Loayza, DJ Gralenski, Armando Hurtado, Danny Reyes and Salamanca again scored for Wood River.
Hailey coach Anderson said, “It was a tough loss, but I told the team I was super proud of what they did this year. They exceeded almost everyone’s expectations with only three returning starters.
“Daniel Gonzales was in goal (for the shootout) because during practices we all noticed he was pretty good at saving penalty kicks.
“We had kept him on the roster for that purpose and he did what he needed to do. Unfortunately we just missed a couple too many kicks, but that’s the nature of PKs.”
The Wolverines had beaten Twin Falls 3-0 and 3-2 during the season, but Twin Falls now boasts a 3-0-1 advantage in shootouts with Wood River over the past five years. The Bruins had been winless in their last eight meetings with the Wolverines, but pulled ahead in the 70-game, 33-year rivalry by a 30-29-11 margin.
Also Wednesday, No. 3-seeded Jerome (14-3-1) won their first GBC tournament title since back-to-back wins in 2012-13 with a 2-1 overtime home win over No. 5 Canyon Ridge (10-6-1) of Twin Falls.
· Final boys’ team statistics: Wood River 12-5-3 (7-3-1 home, 5-2-2 away, 9-2-2 “Great Basin 10” for #2 seed, with 3 shutouts in 20 games. Goals scored: 61 (3.1). Goals conceded: 40. Individual scoring: Rafael Muñiz 17 (28 career), Edgar Salamanca 13 (16 career), Heron Barriga 7, DJ Gralenski 4, Isaac Esparza 4, Jaime Avila 2, Danny Reyes 2, Alonzo Estrada 2, Froilan Enriquez 2, Bryan Flores 2, Juan Ortiz 1, Cole Reeves 1, Brandon Loayza 1, Armando Hurtado 1, Atzel Jimenez 1, Peter De La Cruz 1.
WRHS girls drop heartbreaker at Preston
Leading most of the game on two goals by junior midfielder Daisy Buxton, the No. 5-seeded Wood River High girls’ soccer team (9-7-4) saw its season end Wednesday with a hard-fought 3-2 loss at No. 3 Preston (12-5-2).
The losses by the Wood River girls and boys meant that for the first time in the 26 years that the Hailey school has fielded girls’ and boys’ soccer teams, no soccer team from Wood River will be represented at the state meet.
Buxton scored in the ninth and 20th minutes, the go-ahead goal assisted by Amelia Madsen. But Preston scored in the 70th minute and added the game winner by Kylie Larsen with just four minutes left in the regulation 80 minutes.
Alexis Harris and Sydney Kelley also had Preston goals.
Wood River first-year coach Tanner Riley said, “This was the hardest-fought game I’ve seen us play all season. We wanted it, but came out with an unlucky loss.
“There were tears at the end of the game, but also comments among seniors of this being the best season they’ve had in their four years.
“They missed some senior pumpkin thing at school on Wednesday to travel to Preston, so I brought them to WalMart to get their pumpkins.
“It was a bittersweet bus ride home filled with laughter and tears, but very cool in see our eight seniors choose to ride the bus home with their soccer team for the last time.”
· Final girls’ team statistics: Wood River 9-7-4 (5-2-3 home, 4-5-1 away, 7-4-2 league for #5 seed) with 5 shutouts in 20 games. Goals scored: 42 (2.1 per game). Goals conceded: 34. Individual scoring: Kate Stone 12 (22 career), Zoe Bacca 6, Sayler Peavey 4, Ella Guy 3, Daisy Buxton 3, Grace Parke 2, Channing Curci 2, Maile Dorland 2, Marcelle Fisher 2, Eva Grover 2, Sammi Brunker 2, Amelia Madsen 1, Oleanna Liaboe 1.