|Soccer takes down Boise State|
MOSCOW - Chelsea Small looked very comfortable playing in her first rivalry game as a Vandal, as the freshman netted a pair of second-half goals and the Idaho soccer team downed Boise State by a 3-1 margin at Guy Wicks Field.
"I really think it was a huge team effort," Idaho head coach Pete Showler said. "We defended stoutly, we played through the midfield with composure, and our forwards battled and scored great goals, and I can't ask for much more as a head coach."
In a key Western Athletic Conference game, Idaho (9-7, 2-3 WAC) outplayed Boise State (7-6-4, 2-3 WAC) in the final 45 minutes after the teams battled to a 1-1 halftime tie. The win gives Idaho an important tiebreaker over the Broncos in the conference standings.
Small put together her second career multi-goal game, while junior Jenn Hull moved into fourth all-time at Idaho with her 12th career goal. All three assists came from different players, as freshman Megan Lopez set up Hull's shot in the first period, freshman Lauren Layton sent in the pass on Small's first goal and sophomore Desirae Hull sent Small forward on the third goal.
The Broncos struck first with a Shannon Saxton strike in the 16th minute, but Jenn Hull was quick to answer. Just under five minutes later, Lopez broke down the middle of the defense before sending a quick tap to Jenn Hull, who fired a diagonal shot to the left post to get things all square at the 21:06 mark.
Small headed in the game-winner 13 minutes into the second half after Layton sent in a high cross. Idaho withheld a strong barrage from BSU for the next 23 minutes, until Desirae Hull intercepted a BSU pass deep in the Idaho zone and sent a booming pass perfectly forward to Small, who beat the keeper high from about 20 yards out at the 81:21 mark to put the exclamation point on the win.
"They (Boise State) threw everything but the kitchen sink at us," Showler said about BSU's rush late in the second half. "They played good soccer, they knocked it around, and they were physical, and when you put all those attributes together, it's a difficult team to beat, and that makes this win a good one."
In addition to breaking Idaho's three-game skid and getting the Vandals a key conference win, the game also gave the Idaho women in-state bragging rights for the first time since the 1999 season. Both teams beat Idaho State earlier in the year at the Governor's Cup tournament.
"This was the first time we've beaten them or won the Governor's Cup since I've been here, so today was extra sweet," Idaho senior defender Sari Morrison said. "Everything about this win was good today."
Idaho out-shot Boise State by a 17-13 margin, with seven shots on goal, compared to five. Fouls were close, as Boise State was whistled for eight, while Idaho had seven, but three BSU players earned yellow cards for rough play. Both teams tallied four saves.
Small led the team in shots with seven, including five on-target attempts. Jenn Hull attempted three, while Morrison fired two. Sophomore goalkeeper Liz Boyden stopped four shots and allowed one goal.
The three goals scored by Idaho are the most allowed by Boise State in a game this season and the most Idaho has scored in the series between the two teams. The Broncos entered the game as the WAC's top-ranked team in goals allowed (12) and goals-against average (0.71).
Morrison said that they key for the team to end its three-game skid and get back to its winning ways was to simply relax and enjoy themselves on the field.
"The coaches showed us a highlight video before the game - we didn't really even talk about Boise State, they just said 'Look, you guys can score goals. You've done it all year. Let's just go back to having fun.'" Morrison said. "Today was fun."
Idaho will try to build on its momentum this weekend with a road trip that starts at San Jose State on Friday at 3 p.m. and finishes on Sunday at Fresno State at 1 p.m. The regular season will finish up on Nov. 1, as the Vandals host Hawai'i at Guy Wicks Field at 1 p.m.