Smoke flooding the Treasure Valley finally gave way enough for the 5A and 4A district soccer semifinals to resume Wednesday with state tournament berths up for grabs.
Ten teams booked their trips to the state championships: Boise and Timberline boys (5A), Boise and Rocky Mountain girls (5A), Caldwell and Bishop Kelly boys (4A), Bishop Kelly and Kuna girls (4A) and the Weiser boys and girls (3A).
The 4A district finals are slated for Friday. The 5A tournaments won’t set their championship schedule until Thursday morning as they juggle fields and air conditions.
BOISE 1, BORAH 0
Boise central midfielder Kate Blickenstaff won a ball in the 72nd minute, slalomed through defenders for a 20-yard run, cut back to her left foot and slid the game-winning goal to the far left post.
Blickenstaff’s seventh goal of the year kept Boise (16-0-0) perfect on the season and punched the Braves’ ticket to the state tournament next week. Boise has yet to miss a state soccer tournament since the Idaho High School Activities Association started sponsoring it in 2000.
“Since we’ve played her more in the center mid, she hasn’t had an opportunity to do that much,” Boise coach Chris Siegenthaler said. “She has an explosive burst that comes and goes sometimes. … We haven’t seen the whole package like that. It’s nice to see her get in, win a ball and score on the run like that.”
Boise’s back line remained solid, posting its 13th shutout of the season. In 16 games, Boise has allowed three goals. Siegenthaler said one of those was an own goal, and the other two came off free kicks.
“We’ve got, physically, a lot of gifts, and they're all committed to being defenders,” Siegenthaler said. “They don’t have a lot of ambition to seek the glory of goal scoring.”
Vail Dark stopped three Borah shots in the first half, and Anneka Lewerenz made one save in the second half as Boise continued its goalkeeper rotation.
Boise, the defending district champ, returns to the district final for the eighth time in nine years, where it will face Rocky Mountain in a rematch of last year’s district championship. The Braves edged Rocky Mountain 1-0 on Sept. 22 in their only meeting this season.
ROCKY MTN. 3, TIMBERLINE 1
Rocky Mountain senior Raimee Sherle broke through Timberline’s bunker defense when she buried a left-footed shot from the top of the box in the 27th minute, then provided the assist on Morgan Farrington’s 39th minute goal.
“She’s been a little frustrated lately,” Rocky Mountain coach Donal Kaehler said of Sherle, who’s received plenty of attention from defenses. “But I think a goal and an assist helped her a little bit.”
Rocky Mountain’s Makayla Welch opened the scoring in the seventh minute, but Timberline’s Madison Carter answered in the 10th minute.
Rocky Mountain advances to the district final and the state tournament for the third straight year.
BISHOP KELLY 2, MTN. HOME 1
Cameron Coyle played a ball back to Abby Grant, and Grant buried a 30-yard strike in the 65th minute to keep Bishop Kelly’s chase for a seventh straight district title alive.
Emma Mills gave Bishop Kelly a 1-0 halftime lead. Mountain Home’s Jacey Carr then tied the game in the 45th minute.
KUNA 2, SKYVIEW 0
Kuna knocked off Skyview for the first time this season to advance to the state tournament for the sixth time in the past seven years.
After a scoreless first half, Abbie Wilson put Kuna on the board early in the second half. She then provided the assist on Kayla Montierth’s insurance goal, and Karleigh Belnap made three saves to record the shutout.
Kuna was previously 0-1-1 against the Hawks this season.
BOISE 1, CENTENNIAL 1 (Boise 4-3 PKs)
Boise, the three-time defending district champ, advanced to the district final and the state tournament for the 10th straight time.
Centennial drew first blood with Manasse Mbuyi goal in the second half. But Nate Isbell answered with 15 minutes left in regulation on an assist from Muga Katanga.
Centennial led 2-1 early in penalties. But Boise goalkeeper Jared Hembree stopped the Patriots’ third attempt. And he made a walk-off, diving save to his right on the fifth and final shot.
“He’s a fairly new a goalkeeper,” Boise coach Mike Darrow said. “I think it’s a big confidence booster for him to come through and make those saves.”
Luke Murdock converted on Boise’s fifth attempt for a 4-3 lead.
TIMBERLINE 5, ROCKY MTN. 1
Alain Murhula poured in four goals and added an assist as Timberline, the defending state champ and the 5A SIC regular-season champ, qualified for the state tournament for the third year in a row.
“He’s a really unselfish player,” Timberline coach TJ Thaemert said. “He just put himself in good spots. He was doing a good job giving other people chances in the first half and we were not doing a good job capitalizing. Then in the second half, he got them back.”
The senior forward helped Timberline to a 1-1 halftime tie. He set up Cole Fuller’s goal to open the second half, then put away the final three goals himself.
CALDWELL 5, KUNA 1
Kuna pulled within 2-1 with a penalty kick early in the second half. But Caldwell answered with the final three goals to qualify for state for the third time in five years.
Hector Bermudez made it 3-1, Adrian Arguello tacked on the fourth goal and Emilio Gonzales scored his second goal from 30 yards to provide the final score.
BISHOP KELLY 2, SKYVIEW 0
Matt Sammartino scored a pair of goals as Bishop Kelly advanced to state for the fourth time in six years.
The Knights travel to Caldwell at 5 p.m. Friday for a chance at their first district title since 2010.
WEISER 8, EMMETT 0
The Wolverines made it a dominating sweep of district titles for Weiser’s boys and girls program.
The Weiser girls won the 3A District Three title Tuesday with a 10-0 win over McCall-Donnelly.