The Centennial High girls soccer team huddled around the state championship trophy Saturday, holding it aloft one last time before leaving the field.
Senior midfielder Molly Cole bellowed out, “What curse?” and Centennial responded with a final cheer 18 years in the making.
Centennial rolled past Mountain View 4-0 on Saturday at Rocky Mountain High, becoming the first 5A Southern Idaho Conference girls soccer team to win district and state championships in the same season.
“We knew that it was a big deal around here, and that ‘The Curse’ was stopping everyone from winning state after districts,” said Centennial senior forward Makayla Christensen, who scored twice. “But we knew we had the team and the personnel to do it, and we came out here and we beat the curse. It’s amazing.”
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The 5A SIC has long served as the power center of Idaho high school girls soccer, its teams winning 14 of the previous 17 state championships. But a Treasure Valley team had never won a district and state championship in the same season, leading many to refer to the district half-jokingly as cursed.
Plenty of rational explanations exist. The depth of talent in the Valley makes the fifth-place finisher just as dangerous as the first. And soccer remains a sport where one funny bounce can lead to a 1-0 upset.
But Christensen put the Patriots on her back all week, scoring twice in all three rounds of the state tournament to run her season total to 44 goals and her career tally to 90 in three seasons.
“This whole season, she’s been playing on another level,” Centennial coach Steven Snider said of the Utah commit. “She’s been playmaking, she’s been goal scoring, she’s been doing the dirty work, she’s competing. She’s just stepped up over and over again. When the game has been tight and we need something, she comes up with production.”
Christensen put the Patriots on the board in the 28th minute by converting a penalty kick she earned. She set up Centennial’s next two goals, redirecting corner kicks from BYU commit Josie Bush to the near post for goals from Cheyanne Rede and Cole.
Christensen added one more goal in the 76th minute to clinch her first state title. Though Saturday marks the Patriots’ third state championship in four years, Christensen missed her freshman season to play for her club team, and then missed the 2015 championship run with a knee injury.
“We were determined to be the ones to break ‘The Curse,’ ” Bush said. “We wanted that kind of glory our senior year.”
BORAH BOYS RALLY FOR TITLE
Post Falls raced out to a 2-0 lead 18 minutes into the 5A state championship game at Rocky Mountain.
But Borah didn’t panic, rallying with three unanswered goals for its first state title since 2010.
“I just feel like we are made to be comeback kings,” said Borah junior midfielder Ahmed Ibrahimovic, who had the winning goal, just as he did in the semifinals. “I can’t put words to it. … I feel like if we would have won 3-0, something easy, it wouldn’t have been the same.”
The deficit was nothing new for Borah (15-4-1), which trailed Hillcrest 1-0 in the state semifinals and Centennial 3-1 in the district quarterfinals, only to rally for victories.
Ibrahimovic had a hand in all three Borah goals. He broke open the Post Falls (12-4-0) defense in the 23rd minute, firing a shot on net. Gerard Kebika tapped in the rebound to put the Lions on the board.
Ibrahimovic then one-timed a direct kick from Alex Mwibey from 30 yards into the upper corner of the net in the 49th minute. And he buried the game winner with a curving, 28-yard strike in the 70th minute after his cousin, Armin Hasanovic, sprung him with a back-heel pass.
“He has a different will, to go along with the unbelievable ability he has,” Borah coach Jayson Transtrum said. “It’s just a different kind of a will.”
BISHOP KELLY GIRLS REPEAT
The Knights capped off a perfect season Saturday, beating Sandpoint 2-1 at Middleton High to win their seventh state title since the IHSAA began sponsoring the state tournament in 2000.
The Elwer triplets led the Knights (22-0-0), who won their 42nd game in a row, as they have all season. Lauren Elwer poured in her ninth goal of the state tournament, and sister Evelyn scored her own goal and set up Lauren’s strike.
CALDWELL BOYS TAKE SECOND
The Cougars fell just short of their first state title in program history, falling 2-1 to Wood River at Middleton High.
Caldwell (14-5-3) held a 1-0 lead with eight minutes left, but Wood River (17-2-1) rallied to win its first state title since 2003 at the 3A level.
WEISER BOYS WIN AGAIN
Weiser rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to beat Bliss 2-1 for its second 3A state title in three years. Cristian Sanchez scored twice for the Wolverines (12-5-2), and freshman goalkeeper Dylan Miranda stopped a second-half penalty kick to preserve the victory.