MIDDLETON There are only two players who remember what its like to lose a game in a Knights uniform.
For the other 16, the winning has gone uninterrupted for more than three seasons.
Bishop Kelly earned its 51st consecutive victory Monday night, extending the nations longest active winning streak for a girls high school soccer team with a 9-1 blowout of Middleton.
The Knights grabbed the record last week, surpassing Billings Central of Montana, which won 48 consecutive games from 2008 to 2011.
We just all enjoy playing and I think it just comes natural, senior forward Celia Harrington said. We all want to win.
Bishop Kelly has grown comfortable with the pressure associated with success on a state and national level.
The Knights have won four of the past five state championships in the 4A classification, and five overall since the Idaho High School Activities Association sanctioned the sport in 2000.
I think they handle it very well. I think they like it, actually, coach Curtis Eisenberger said. We prepare knowing every team wants to beat us. It makes us practice pretty hard.
Eisenberger, in his fourth season as the Knights head coach, doesnt have any trouble remembering the last time his team lost. It is the only defeat hes experienced during his tenure.
The 3-2 overtime loss to Sandpoint in the state quarterfinals on Oct. 22, 2009, was the catalyst for the teams current dominance.
At the time, Bishop Kelly was hoping to win its third state championship in a row. The Knights rebounded to win the consolation championship after beating Twin Falls 7-0 and Wood River 3-0.
After that loss, we all came together and said, Yeah, it happened. We just have to accept it and move on, Harrington said. We picked up our heads and played well from then on out.
Theyve done more than play well.
Since that victory, the Knights have completed back-to-back 22-0 seasons, scoring more than 100 goals each year and finishing with 4A state championship trophies.
More than 30 players have been a part of the streak, five of whom have gone on to play college soccer.
With 14 lettermen back from last season, Bishop Kelly is the overwhelming favorite to win a third straight state championship.
And based on the Knights first five victories this season, in which they have outscored opponents 45-4, it seems possible that the nations longest active winning streak could continue for at least another season.
Every season we seem to lose players, but we pick up really good players along the way, Eisenberger said. Weve been fortunate in how weve recycled. Those kids come in and they immediately want to get the same success that some of the juniors and seniors have. It just keeps perpetuating itself.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422,Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX