Idaho won’t have a representative on the field Sunday for the final day of action at the Far West Regional soccer tournament at Simplot Sports Complex.
The Boise Nationals U-18 and FC Nova U-14 girls teams lost in the semifinals Saturday. The combined Nova Nationals U-19 team won a regional crown Friday and is the state’s only qualifier for the national tournament.
Nationals fall 2-1
The Nationals’ feisty defense produced a scoreless first half against Rio Rapids of New Mexico, but they were unable to produce enough offense to advance.
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Rio Rapids scored early in the second half and took a 2-0 lead on a corner kick with about 15 minutes left in the game. The Nationals cut the deficit in half on Johanna DiLulo’s goal with about 10 minutes left.
“We play a tight defensive shape and we have some fast forwards up top, so we counter attack, and that’s how we’ve gotten to this point,” Nationals coach Bill Taylor said. “... We had to change our style of play the last 15 minutes, so we put more numbers up front and kind of went for it and we got a goal out of it, but we couldn’t find the second one.”
This group had one regional victory before this year. The Nationals won a preliminary game Wednesday, prevailed in a tie-breaking shootout Thursday to reach the knockout stage and earned another win in the quarterfinals.
“In their U-18 year to get to a semifinal, that’s huge,” Taylor said. “U-18 is a tough year for kids. A lot of girls are committed to colleges. It’s a very tough year to get the coaching done, but they stuck together. We progressed a lot further than anyone expected.”
Nova loses 4-2
The FC Nova U-14 team was considered one of Idaho’s best hopes for a regional title coming into the event. And the girls won their first four games with ease (14-3 combined score).
But Nova ran into a more determined group Saturday as Legends FC of Southern California jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first half and held off Nova’s spirited charge in the second half. Nova pulled within 3-2 and had chances to tie the game until a headed corner kick gave Legends a two-goal cushion again.
A lot of zeroes
• Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks Burke of Arizona beat defending national champion Santa Barbara SC White of California in a scoreless U-19 boys final Saturday. Scottsdale prevailed on penalty kicks. Santa Barbara won its semifinal Friday on penalty kicks.
• La Roca and 98 Celtic, both of Utah, will clash in the U-17 girls final Sunday. Neither team has allowed a goal since Tuesday. La Roca has outscored opponents 25-3 in the tournament; Celtic has an 18-1 goal differential. La Roca placed girls teams in the finals of the U-15 through U-18 divisions.