CALDWELL The Skyview High boys soccer team had to play the entire second half of Thursdays 4A District Three championship game a man down.
Despite the setback, the Hawks maintained their intensity, pulling off a 1-0 victory over Bishop Kelly at Syringa Middle School.
It was the eighth district championship in nine seasons for the Hawks (16-1-2).
Playing with a man down, its always tough, but these boys have been playing together for years and years and years, not just for Skyview but in club and growing up together, Skyview coach Shawn Pelton said. Literally they could play completely silent with no communication if they had to because they know what each other does.
Skyview senior Kevin Field was issued a red card at the end of the first half when Field, a Bishop Kelly defender and BK goalkeeper Scott Bennett simultaneously collided going for the ball.
It was Fields first card of the season, but it couldnt have come at a worse time. In addition to missing the entire second half of the district championship game, Field Skyviews leading scorer with 26 goals also has to sit out the first game of the state tournament.
Playing without one of their stars didnt faze the Hawks against the Knights (10-6-3).
Skyview held the momentum for most of the second half and eventually broke through in the 71st minute.
Senior midfielder Carlos Lopez passed up field to senior forward Josue Palacios, who then did a series of fakes to break free of his defender and send the ball into the back of the net on the far post.
I got a good pass, ran for it and tried to go left, then right and then just took the shot, Palacios said. It felt amazing. It felt great. District. We won 1-0. It was such an important game and now we have state in front of us.
Bishop Kelly threatened to tie the game with time running out, but Skyview goalkeeper Jacob Nitu made a diving one-handed save in stoppage time to preserve the victory.
Jacob is a great keeper. He doesnt get as much credit as he deserves, Pelton said. Time and time again a team, no matter who we are playing, will get a shot off and I am just like oh, thats in, but out of nowhere, a hand comes flying through and Jacob saves it. I dont know how he does it.
Skyview, Bishop Kelly and third-place Middleton advance to the 4A state tournament Oct. 18-20 at the Idaho Falls Soccer Complex.
It will be Skyviews eighth trip in nine seasons. The Hawks last state title came in 2005.
4A GIRLS BISHOP KELLY 5, KUNA 3
The Knights amassed a 3-0 lead within the first 15 minutes of play on their way to a fourth consecutive 4A District Three championship under head coach Curtis Eisenberger.
Senior forward Celia Harrington led Bishop Kelly in scoring with three goals, and Mickie Piechowski and Lizzie Thometz each added one.
It was very important for us to come out with a strong showing tonight and take care of business early on, Eisenberger said. It helps our confidence going into state.
Bishop Kelly, which has not lost a game since the 2009 state tournament, is aiming for its third state championship in a row.
The Knights (19-0), Kuna and Middleton (13-6-1) each secured spots in next weeks state tournament, which runs Oct. 18-20 at the Idaho Falls Soccer Complex.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422,Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX