MIDDLETON - For the first time in four years, the Bishop Kelly Knights lost, and they will have to wait until next year to try starting a new streak.
Bishop Kelly, which came into Saturday's 4A girls soccer state championship 88-0-1 since the 2010 season began, was shut out 1-0 by Sandpoint.
Bulldogs senior Sierra Scott notched the game's lone score in the 31st minute, and the Sandpoint defense fended off a handful of Knights opportunities in the second half. In addition to the 89-game unbeaten streak ending, so did Bishop Kelly's quest for a record fourth consecutive state championships.
"It's kind of disbelief," Bishop Kelly coach Curtis Eisenberg said. "But the last 40 minutes summed up what we did the last four years, gave everything we had. The previous games went our way, but not (Saturday). That's how it goes sometimes."
For the Knights, the ball not rolling their way has been as common as a presidential election, but both sides knew Saturday's game was going to be a battle.
It was the Bulldogs who handed the Knights their previous loss, on Oct. 22, 2009, the first day of the state tournament that year. Twice since, they've met in state championships (2010 and 2011), with one going into overtime and the other settled by penalty kicks.
"It's gone each way - we know if we want to win a state championship, usually you have to beat them," Eisenberg said.
Sandpoint (13-3-4) goalkeeper Makayla Sundquist backed up a strong defense, diving to push aside an Alyssa Stewart shot in the 43rd minute headed inside the left post, one of her eight saves. The Knights (20-1-1) had two late chances, but a corner kick in the 75th minute was snuffed out by the Bulldogs and a free kick two minutes later sailed just over Raquelle Mouw's head.
"For whatever reason they persevere," Sandpoint coach Conor Baranski said. "It showed there, their commitment at the end of the game to get over to a loose ball, get two bodies in front of a shot."
The Bulldogs did not allow a goal in the state tournament, keeping the Knights, who had 12 goals in their first two tournament games, off the scoreboard.
Bishop Kelly spent most of the game without top scorer Mickie Piechowski, who had 33 goals this season. She collided with a Sandpoint defender in the ninth minute and spent about 10 minutes down on the field. Clutching her shoulder, she left the game and did not return, going to a local hospital for further treatment.
"It definitely frazzled us a lot," Stewart said. "She really holds our team together."
The Knights seemingly had a goal in the 25th minute, when Maddie Minnaert scored on a rebound off Sundquist, but was called offside. Six minutes later, Scott booted Paige Crane's free kick out of the air into the back of the net for the lone goal of the game. It was the sixth 4A state title for the Bulldogs, who did not make the state tournament in 2012.
"It's just that we've worked years for this, all these seniors, and it's finally happened," Scott said. "All these things are happening - they're overwhelming, but they're also amazing."
Though the trophy the Knights sought was not the won they finished with, the ending of an impressive run was still something to marvel.
"The streak, it's great looking back at it, what that senior class accomplished," Eisenberg said.
JEROME 3, WOOD RIVER 1
The Jerome Tigers rushed out to a 3-0 lead before Wood River cut into the lead with 30 minutes to go, but it was too little, too late as the Tigers claimed their first state soccer championship.
After defeating Caldwell 1-0 to open tournament play, Jerome (17-4-0) beat Mountain Home 3-0 on Friday to advance to the championship. Wood River finished the season 12-4-4.
"They just never quit, they passed the ball around well, and have a lot of faith in one another," Jerome coach Robert Garcia said.