4A state soccer roundup: Record fourth straight title in Knights’ sights

Bishop Kelly faces familiar foe Sandpoint for the 4A state title.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comOctober 26, 2013 

CALDWELL — The Bishop Kelly High girls soccer team has not lost in more than four years.

A 4-0 win over Century in Friday’s 4A state semifinals improved the Knights’ overall record to 88-0-1 since Oct. 22, 2009.

On Saturday, they will get the chance to win a fourth straight state championship when they take on Sandpoint, 2-0 winners over Middleton.

One of the few things that never gets old, it seems, is winning.

“Never does,” said senior Mickie Piechowski, who scored two goals Friday. “Every one is different.”

No school has won four consecutive state soccer titles, be it a boys or girls team. The Knights (20-0-1) will get that chance against the Bulldogs (12-3-4) at 4:30 p.m. at Middleton High, with Jerome and Wood River vying for the boys championship at 7 p.m.

Often it is true that heavy is the head that wears the crown, but Bishop Kelly credits its focus on the task ahead as part of its continued success.

“We kind of let people outside of our team talk about those things, and our biggest focus has been taking it one game at a time, trying to play our best soccer at state, and I think that’s what we are doing,” Bishop Kelly coach Curtis Eisenberg said.

Thinking of winning streaks or state records quickly go away when considering that next task, as the Bulldogs have been perhaps the Knights’ toughest competition in recent years.

Bishop Kelly beat Sandpoint 3-2 in overtime to win the 2011 state championship, after winning it 3-2 on penalty kicks in the 2010 state title game. And it was the Bulldogs who handed the Knights their last loss, which came in the first round of the 2009 state tournament.

“It’s fun playing them — the last three, we’ve lost on a golden goal, won on a golden goal and won on our fifth penalty kick, two in the state tournament,” Eisenberg said. “I think it’s clear the two best 4A teams will be in the championship, so it’ll be a good one.”

Though Piechowski noted that each game and each season is different, the Knights have won this season by starting fast with their speedy, experienced front line. That’s exactly what the Knights have done thus far at state, scoring in the first minute Thursday in an 8-1 win over Wood River, and got on the board in the eighth minute Friday on Piechowski’s first goal. She added another 15 minutes later. Aubree Chatterton and Shannon McGrath added goals within two minutes of each other midway through the second half.

“We’ve got such a strong line. Everyone can contribute, you can count on everyone and we work together really well,” Piechowski said.

A win Saturday would mean Bishop Kelly’s seniors, like Piechowski, could go their entire high school careers without a loss.

Of course, Friday was not the time to think of such things with the final test Saturday bound to be among the toughest.

“It’s been cool, but there’s no way I’m really thinking about that until (Saturday) night,” Piechowski said.

SANDPOINT 2, MIDDLETON 0

Corinne Ariss deflected a corner kick into the Middleton net in the 11th minute, and it was all the Bulldogs needed to advance to the state title game, adding another score from Nan Kiebert in the final minute to seal the win.

The Vikings (14-4-3), who gave Bishop Kelly its lone tie this season, scored 78 goals coming into the state tournament, but could not get one in against Sandpoint. The Vikings will face Century for third place at 1 p.m. Saturday at Brothers Park in Caldwell.

“They really wanted that,” Middleton coach Lisa Pennington said. “… The ball rolls either way anytime. We could’ve come back, we could’ve tied it, possibly could’ve had two, but either way you look at it, we have to refocus and get ready for (Saturday).”

Middleton’s best scoring chance came with five minutes to go, when goalkeeper Maddie Brown was put in as a forward and sent a long ball over the Sandpoint defense to an open Terrika Nelson, but she was a step behind the ball as Sandpoint keeper Makayla Sundquist charged and wrapped it up.

BOYS

WOOD RIVER 3, MOUNTAIN HOME 0

With three starters, including its top two scorers, sidelined with injuries, Mountain Home’s bid for a state championship ended with a loss in the semifinals.

Wood River (12-3-4) got two goals from Jose Ortiz and one from Eron Bates.

It was the Tigers’ first trip to the state tournament since 2002.

“It’s been a great experience,” Mountain Home coach Jay Lockett said. “We’ve got 11 seniors who worked hard for four years to get here, so it’s great for them to finish like this.”

Mountain Home (14-6-2) will play Lakeland (7-12-2) for third place at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Jerome defeated Lakeland 3-0 in the other semifinal and will face Wood River for the title at 7 p.m.

CALDWELL 1, CENTURY 0

Omar Gonzalez scored the lone goal to send the Cougars (14-5-2) to Saturday’s consolation final against Preston, which ended Emmett’s season with a 2-1 win. Brandon Oram scored for the Huskies (10-9-2).

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_southorn

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