The first District 93 soccer rivalry games of 2019 were split between green and red Tuesday.
The Bonneville girls remained undefeated versus 4A District 6 opponents, defeating Hillcrest 5-2. On the other side of town, the Hillcrest Knights picked up their seventh victory of the season with a 7-1 win over Bonneville.
After playing to a tie versus the Knights in their first meetings the previous two seasons, Bonneville broke through at Hillcrest for a win in the first meeting of 2019.
The Bees built a 3-0 halftime lead off two goals from Reagan Flynn and a goal from Kenzie Pugmire. Hillcrest ended the shutout attempt in the first 15 minutes of the second half when Ella McMurphy stole the ball from the Bees at midfield and took a shot. That goal opened the floodgates, as Bonneville responded 10 minutes later when Madison Pugmire scored. Four minutes after that, McMurphy assisted Zoe Hansen on a Hillcrest goal to cut the deficit to 4-2. Two minutes later, Kenzie Pugmire scored from distance to net her second goal of the game, sending the ball over the keeper’s glove for the final goal of the game.
“We’ve been working on those shots,” Bonneville coach Amy Feik said. “They were confident to take them from a distance.”
Both coaches pointed to possession as being the difference between the first and second half. Feik said the Bees entered the first half wanting a high possession game and it played out that way. Gusty winds were also a factor in the first half of both Tuesday’s rivalry games, as blustery conditions sent shots high into the air.
“They were taking their shots and had the wind at their backs,” Hillcrest coach Danielle Francis said. “They were smart and took advantage. The second half was a lot more competitive.”
During halftime, Francis said the Knights discussed stepping up on possession and not giving the Bees as much space in the second half. The Knights made use of what Francis calls the ‘six second rule’--winning the ball back within six seconds if they lost it up top.
Bonneville’s win marks a rivalry series that has become more even the last three seasons. The Bees went 2-0-1 versus the Knights in 2017--their first wins over Hillcrest since October 2002--and went 1-1-1 last season. Additionally, both programs have fewer subs and considerably more youth on their varsity rosters compared to previous seasons.
“I always enjoy playing Bonneville,” Francis said. “Every time you play your rival, it’s gonna be a battle. Each team is very capable of winning.”
Feik said a big factor in the rivalry becoming more even was changing the way the Bees approach playing the Knights.
“When I first started coaching here, one of our goals was to beat Hillcrest,” Feik said. “I think the biggest thing was to change the mindset. They used to go into the Hillcrest game expecting to lose. Once we got that first win (in 2017), we went into last year knowing that we’re even now.”
Bonneville (6-2-0 overall, 4-0-0 4A District 6) hosts Rigby on Thursday while Hillcrest (3-5-0, 2-3-0) plays Friday at Thunder Ridge.
Playing at Bonneville, the Knights finished off a win over the Bees thanks to four goals in the second half.
Hillcrest entered halftime up 3-0 thanks to two goals from Carlos Espinoza and a goal by Jake Hoover. The Bees ended the first half with a free kick followed by a corner kick, the latter of which was saved right before the halftime whistle.
A Hillcrest own goal put Bonneville on the board to start the second half, and the score remained 3-1 until the 58th minute when Saul Espinosa scored for the Knights. He would score again, as would Carlos Espinoza and Hadrien Pena, to stretch the lead en route to the win, which is Hillcrest’s eighth in a row against Bonneville dating back to the 2016 season.
“The first 10, 15 minutes of the second half, we weren’t playing that great,” Hillcrest coach Ryan Ellis said. “Second part of the second half, we were able to play a lot better. They finished strong.”
Some offensive adjustments helped the Knights end the game with four goals in a 20-minute span.
“We were playing more outside instead of forcing it down the middle and that helped,” Ellis said. “They kinda took it deep in and set it back near the 18. We were able to get some pretty open shots.”
Hillcrest (7-1-1 overall, 4-0-1 4A District 6) hosts Thunder Ridge on Thursday while Bonneville (0-9-0, 0-4-0) hosts Shelley on Monday.