A hard-fought tale of two strikingly different halves turned into a come-from-behind 2-1 Wood River High School boys’ soccer home victory over previously unbeaten Century High School of Pocatello Saturday.
Senior co-captain Alonzo Estrada curled a corner kick into the top corner of the Century net in the 70th minute for the game-winning goal at South Valley Sports Complex soccer field in Hailey.
Trailing 1-0 at half, Wood River had finally broken through when senior Rafael Muñiz took a pass from senior co-captain Edgar Salamanca and worked his wonders—slicing through defenders and pounding home the equalizer at 1-1 in the 50th minute.
Wood River dominated the second half with a 7-1 shooting advantage after being out-played and outshot 6-2 by Century in the first 40 minutes. Sophomore Heron Barriga led the aggressive Hailey midfield that pushed the ball forward and connected with passes.
“The boys seem to take a while to get into a rhythm. They made silly mistakes. We told them to be patient on the ball and make Century make the error. They kept their heads in the game,” said Wood River coach Luis Monjaras.
Century, pressing the action early with solid ball control, scored first in the ninth minute. Senior Aidan Hofeldt passed into the box and junior Kameron Murdock made no mistake on Century’s third shot of the game.
But Wood River junior goalkeeper Atzel Jimenez (2 saves) kept his team in the game with a great save on Michael Montanez’s long, wind-backed free kick from midfield, and the Wolverines kept working their way back into a winning flow.
Saturday’s win was sweet since the teams had tied 0-0 in Pocatello last Sept. 15, ending an 18-game Wood River win streak, and Century eliminated the Wolverines 2-1 in double overtime at the State 4A tourney in northern Idaho.
Second-place Wood River (8-2-3, 7-1-2 GBC, 23 points) pulled closer to Great Basin Conference leader Century (8-1-2, 7-1-1 GBC, 25 points). For the game, Wood River had a 22-12 edge in free kicks and 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The host Wood River boys beat Minico of Rupert 8-2 Monday on the Hailey pitch. Salamanca scored a career-best three-goal hat trick. Bryan Flores and DJ Gralenski added two goals apiece, and Barriga netted his second of the year.
It stretched Wood River’s unbeaten streak to seven. Monjaras said, “We had the opportunity to move people in different positions. We worked on crosses and scoring in volleys and headers.”
Wood River sets its sights on avenging a 5-0 defeat when the Wolverines travel to third-place Jerome (9-2-1, 7-2-1 for 22 points) today, Wednesday. Jerome defeated resurgent Mountain Home (5-4-3, 3-4-3, 12 points) by a 4-0 score Monday.
Hailey girls tie Century 1-1
The Wood River girls’ varsity soccer team firmly established itself in the middle of the 10-team Great Basin Conference pack on Saturday by rallying for a 1-1 league tie with Century in Pocatello.
Century’s Emma Edgley scored near the goal in the 15th minute. Wood River senior Grace Parke equalized at 1-1 in the 27th minute. It helped her team stay unbeaten in its last five games.
Wood River girls’ coach Tanner Riley said, “We played a good game but struggled to find the back of the net.
“Sayler Peavey had an excellent game and set the tone for the level of play that was needed. She picked her head up and made very smart decisions when the ball was at her feet. Marcella Fisher, in our opinion, made some of the best saves of her career.”
Wood River (5-4-3, 5-3-2 GBC for 17 points) has tied last year’s conference tournament runner-up Century (5-4-2, 5-3-2 GBC, 17 points) for fifth place.
Monday in Rupert, Wood River had its way with host Minico of Rupert 8-0 as senior Kate Stone scored a career-best four goals, two in the first half and two in the second.
Adding Hailey scores were Fisher, Eva Grover, Zoe Bacca and Peavey. Assisting were Grover, Lola Randolph and Maile Dorland.
Riley said, “It was great to get some of our freshmen playing time to allow them to gain confidence with girls three years their senior. All of them played well and contributed to our possession.”
Hoping to move up further in the GBC standings, Wood River hosts fourth-place Jerome (6-3-1 GBC, 19 points) today, Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. on the Hailey field.
“These girls need to prove that they want it. I’m excited,” said Riley about the upcoming challenge with Jerome, an upset 1-0 winner over Wood River Sept. 7 in Jerome.