Chilly, snowy conditions met the Teton High girls’ soccer team at last week’s state tournament in northern Idaho.
After a surprising district championship win over Sugar-Salem on Oct. 14, Teton had a strong seeding coming into the tournament in Post Falls, but unfortunately opponent McCall-Donnelly was feeling fresh in the first half on Thursday and beat Teton 4-0.
The girls had an early game on Friday against Kimberly before the snow started in earnest later that day, causing several game delays. Teton won 1-0, putting them in the consolation championship on Saturday against Sun Valley Community School. The Community School had been knocked out in the quarter-finals by Sugar-Salem, and Teton’s long time district rival went on to finish second in the state, toppled once again by Coeur d’Alene Charter.
The consolation game, originally scheduled for 11 a.m., was pushed back to 11 to accommodate other games. Crews had to plow snow off the turf fields and Coach Cathy Thomas said there was still snow on the ground, making the artificial surface slick, and a bitterly cold wind blew the entire game.
“It was a matter of heart,” Thomas said. “Teton girls definitely know how to play in the snow, but they couldn’t put it in the back of the net Saturday.”
The game was at a 0-0 tie with only minutes to go, and the team was mentally preparing for a drawn-out overtime. Then Teton keeper Grace Zogg blocked a Community School shot, and the offensive player punched the ball into the net with her fist. One referee called it a hand ball but the call was overruled by another official on the field, who said the ball had already crossed the goal plane before being touched by the player.
“That was not an easy one to swallow,” Thomas said of the referee’s call. “That’s not how you want to end a tournament.”
While the girls did not win the consolation final, they did receive the State Sportsmanship Award for the tournament in recognition of the players’ good behavior on and off the field, as well as the conduct on the sidelines from coaches and parents.
“It’s a huge honor to know we have such upstanding girls,” Thomas said. “I’m so proud of them and how they represent their community.”
She added that she has been impressed with how the young team, which has 17 freshmen and sophomores, played in the tournament. “I’m hoping it will get them hungry for next year,” she said.