Varsity Extra

FC Nova’s U-15 girls clinch national club soccer playoff berth

Madison Carter (Timberline High) carries the ball upfield for FC Nova last summer during the Far West Regional semifinals at Simplot Sports Complex.
Madison Carter (Timberline High) carries the ball upfield for FC Nova last summer during the Far West Regional semifinals at Simplot Sports Complex. Idaho Statesman file

The Meridian-based club — made up of high school freshmen and sophomores from the Treasure Valley — became the first Idaho team to qualify for the national playoffs of the Elite Clubs National League with a 4-0 win Sunday over California’s Santa Rosa United in Salt Lake City.

Delaney Reed (Capital) scored a pair of goals, and Madison Carter (Timberline) and Kayla Soto (Vallivue) also scored as FC Nova (6-3-3) clinched the Mountain Division title and a berth in the 32-team playoffs June 23-28 in Oceanside, Calif.

As U-14s, Nova finished second in its ECNL division before winning the Idaho State Cup and reaching the semifinals of U.S. Youth Soccer’s Far West Regionals last year. Eric Simmonsen, the team’s coach and the director of coaching for FC Nova, said last year’s run helped the group.

“The experience of playing top-level teams has helped them manage it better this year, of getting results, understanding conference play and results-oriented games and what it takes to qualify at the top level,” Simmonsen said.

MOUNTAIN HOME’S KNUDSON RESIGNS

Tigers wrestling coach Lynn Knudson stepped down after leading the program for 23 years, the school announced Wednesday.

Knudson, 57, said he resigned to spend more time with family. Last year, his coaching duties forced him to miss his youngest son, Christopher, getting sworn in as an officer in the Army National Guard.

“I did not feel good about that,” Knudson said. “Those kinds of things pop up in your head. It makes you want to have that flexibility that when they need you, you need to be there.”

Knudson led Mountain Home to six state tournament trophies — four third-place finishes and two fourth-place finishes — and a pair of district titles. The Tigers went 306-144 in duals under Knudson, and he won two state coach of the year awards.

EAGLE HOLDS NATIONAL RANKINGS

The softball team is ranked No. 2 in the nation for the fourth straight week in The USA Today High School Sports/ National Fastpitch Coaches Association Super 25. The Mustangs also maintained the No. 2 ranking for the third straight week in the CBS MaxPreps Xcellent 25.

Eagle (23-0) closed the regular season as the 5A SIC regular-season champs, outscoring opponents 311-21 and belting 52 home runs, 19 short of the national record. The Mustangs open the 5A District Three Tournament at 4 p.m. Monday against the lowest-seeded winner from Saturday’s play-in round.

BK FRESHMAN GOLFER HONORED

Bishop Kelly’s Jeran Lofto, a 15-year-old member of The First Tee of Idaho program, has been selected as one of 49 golfers from around the country to attend the International Golf Academy Training Program on June 12-18 in Hilton Head Island, S.C. He’ll receive mental and fitness training and attend college placement sessions.

THREE VALLEY RUGBY TEAMS RANKED

Mountain View checks in at No. 53, Capital No. 54 and Rocky Mountain No. 55 in the latest national Goff Ruby Reports rankings.

All three teams play this weekend in the semifinals of Idaho’s Division I state tournament. Capital and Rocky Mountain meet at 6 p.m. Friday at Fairmont Junior High, and Mountain View faces the Renegades of Bishop Kelly, Borah and Centennial at 11 a.m. at Pathways Middle School in Meridian.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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