EMMETT — One season has made all the difference for the Emmett High boys soccer team.
The Huskies earned the 4A District Threes No. 1 seed at this weeks state tournament and the teams first district title in the sport with last weeks 4-3 double-overtime win against Caldwell.
Emmett finished last season 2-16 and graduated only two seniors from that team.
Coach Aristeo Alvizo attributes the turnaround to eight seniors who have instilled a sense of urgency in their teammates.
They really try hard during practice. They take it really serious. They want to do good, especially the eight seniors, Alvizo said. They know its their last year to kick a soccer ball for their high school. They want to play longer in the season.
Added senior midfielder Braulio Ramirez: We had it in our mind that this was our last year. We needed to step up and go to state for the first time as seniors.
Emmett has made two trips to state, the most recent in 2005. The Huskies have not won a game at state since the sport was sanctioned by the Idaho High School Activities Association in 2000.
Emmett (10-7-2) gets its first shot at breaking that streak when it opens against Wood River (10-3-4) at 2 p.m. Thursday at Brothers Park in Caldwell.
Its pretty exciting, senior forward Brandon Oram said. It still kind of feels like its unreal that we are going.
Opponents are likely to focus on senior forward Kevin Solis, who has scored 24 of Emmetts 41 goals. If teams key on Solis, Alvizo is confident fellow seniors such as Oram, Frankie Resendiz and Raul German can make the most of scoring opportunities.
When you go to state, you have to be ready, and you have to know that teams can be a lot better than you, Alvizo said. We are practicing to compete against that level and see what happens.
Senior center defender Jayden Kirk anchors the defense. Alvizo estimates Kirk has cleared 220 shots by opponents inside the 18-foot line. Andres Alvizo, the nephew of Emmetts coach, has made more than 200 saves in goal.
Although experience isnt on their side, the Huskies are hopeful their determination pays off. We know were never going to have this chance again, Kirk said.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422,Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX