The first District 91 rivalry soccer games of 2018 were divided right down the middle Tuesday at the Idaho Falls Soccer Complex.
The Skyline girls remained unbeaten in 4A play, defeating Idaho Falls 7-1 to move to 5-0-0 in 4A District 5-6. The Idaho Falls boys were victorious later in the evening, getting a 3-1 win over Skyline in a game between the No. 3 and No. 4 teams in 4A District 6.
Bernice Chavez scored in the ninth minute to put Skyline up 1-0 and the score remained unchanged for the next 18 minutes.
During that time, the Tigers and Grizzlies battled for 50-50 balls and matched each other defensively. Brea Danklefsen made it 2-0 Skyline in the 27th minute and Emily Stuart scored five minutes later, turning the tide for the Grizz.
By halftime, Skyline was up 4-0 thanks to Teresa Ledezma converting a corner kick in the 34th minute.
“It always seems to play out that way with I.F.,” Skyline coach Kip Archibald said. “Both teams take time to feel each other out. (The Tigers) have gotten a lot better technically in this last year. That second goal opened it up a bit for us.”
The momentum kept up after halftime, as Idaho Falls made four saves in the first 18 minutes of the second half. The Tigers struck first, however, cutting the score to 4-1 when Kendra Billman found the back of the net in the 42nd minute.
After three saves by I.F. keeper Olivia Trejo in the next 10 minutes, Chavez knocked in a deflected ball to make it 5-1 in the 68th minute.
The Grizzlies got their final goals of the game in the final four minutes of the game from Katie Nawrocki off a 76th minute penalty kick and a Raegan Hart goal in the 79th.
“They played well,” Idaho Falls coach Erika Lin said of her team. “We’ve got some talented players. We just need to work a little bit more on the passing.”
Skyline senior Sydnie Clark was injured near the final whistle Tuesday and was helped off the field by trainers. She was not putting any weight on her right foot. Archibald said he didn’t see what happened when she went down injured, but he hoped for the best for his senior defender.
“She’s pretty much been the mainstay of our back line the last few years,” Archibald said. “I’m hoping it’s just a sprain, but we don’t know.”
Skyline (7-1-0, 5-0-0) plays Saturday at Blackfoot while Idaho Falls (3-4-0, 2-3-0) plays Thursday at Madison.
The boys game began with the lights flickering on and ended with an unexpected douse of icy water on Idaho Falls head coach Ryan Cook.
A JV player gave him a makeshift Gatorade bath sans the Gatorade after the Tigers broke their postgame huddle, leaving Cook to shake his visor dry.
“I was not expecting that, but we’re good,” Cook said with a laugh. “I tried to inspire them before the start of the game. I asked them to stand tall, remember that they’re playing for each other. This is their night. Tonight was all about the boys.”
The Tigers’ celebration came after a game that featured several whistles and free kicks and no shortage of intensity. Jameson Lee put I.F. up with a 14th minute goal and the Grizz responded four minutes later as Jose Rosas knocked in the equalizer.
The Tigers went into halftime up 2-1 off a 35th minute goal by Josh Burtenshaw that prompted a roaring cheer from the I.F. faithful on the sidelines.
The teams traded shots and saves to begin the second half before Junior Soto added an insurance goal for I.F. in the 51st minute. Scoring opportunities continued until the final whistle, drawing ‘awes’ from the crowd and consecutive saves from the keepers.
“Kudos to their defense,” Cook said. “How many point blank shots did we have?”
Skyline coach Byraun Moretz said the difference in the game, particularly the second half, was I.F. winning 50-50 balls and balls in the air.
“When you’re not winning balls, you’re gonna suffer,” Moretz said. “We fought well. They just won everything in the second half.”
Idaho Falls (4-1-3, 3-02) hosts Madison on Thursday while Skyline (2-5-1, 2-3-0) hosts Blackfoot on Saturday.