For the first time since the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) started sponsoring girls soccer, Century will not be competing in the state tournament.
Preston made sure of that.
Sydney Kelley scored late in the first half, and the Indians edged the Diamondbacks, 1-0, in a 4A District 4-5 Tournament elimination match on Monday in Preston.
In the process, third-seeded Preston put an end to fourth-seeded Century’s ultra-impressive streak, which started in 2000. Additionally, the Indians (11-5-2) went 3-0 against the D-backs (8-6-3) in a season for the first time in program history.
“It’s big for the girls, big for their confidence,” Preston head coach Brandon Lyon said. “And the biggest thing is I can’t remember a district tournament where we haven’t played Century in a game, so regardless of how things went during the regular season with us winning two games, we knew that it was going to be a battle. I mean, the district tournament with Century always is. It’s always a tight one-goal game, and last year it was (decided in penalty kicks), so it’s always tight.”
Kelley found the back of the net on a strike from the top of the 18-yard box that tucked into the upper 90 of the far post. The goal was assisted by Sydnee Marlow, who is usually the starting goalkeeper, but was moved to an attacking midfield role.
It’s been a challenging 2019 injury-wise for Preston, which lost all-state midifielder/forward Addison Moser to a season-ending ACL tear last week. The Indians also haven’t had starting midfielder Abigail Lyon the past two games. As a result, coach Lyon made some tactical changes Monday, including moving Marlow and inserting Hadlee Ezola at the keeper spot.
Ezola made a difficult punch save over the crossbar in the opening half, coach Lyon said, and helped her side preserve its eighth clean sheet of the season.
“I’m just proud of the girls for battling through it, and we played good soccer,” coach Lyon said. “Defensively, we played very well. Offensively, losing Addie (Moser) for the year and Abby (Lyon) hasn’t played the last couple of games with an injury, and so we made some changes. We’ve had a hard time scoring, hard time finding a rhythm, and so we made a couple of changes, and we’ve created a lot the last couple of games. But I’m just proud of the girls for getting that first-half goal and then holding Century off in the end.”
Preston will now host fifth-seeded Wood River (9-6-4) Wednesday at 4 p.m. for the 10-team district’s third and final spot to the 4A tourney. The two teams drew 1-1 back in August at Wood River.
Meanwhile, the Preston boys saw its season come to an end Monday afternoon at Wood River. The second-seeded Wolverines (11-3-3) defeated the fourth-seeded Indians, 3-1, in an elimination match.
Preston (9-5-3) earned the right to play Wood River by hammering ninth-seeded Minico, 10-3, last Saturday to keep its season alive. The Indians (9-4-3) outscored the Spartans 6-0 in the second half. It was Preston’s third convincing win over Minico (4-15) this fall.
Kadin Reese and Dixon Alder each recorded hat tricks for Preston, which got one goal and five assists from Garrett Kelley. Jr Murillo chipped in with a pair of goals and one assist, while Reese assisted on two more goals. Defender Tucker Daley even dented the scoreboard for the Indians.