Lady Broncos heading to title game
POCATELLO — A week ago the Preston girls soccer team cost the Blackfoot Lady Broncos a first round bye in this week's 4A District 5/6 tournament with a 3-2 season ending win in Preston.
Tuesday the Lady Broncos had chance at redemption as the two met at Century High School in the district tournament with a berth in Thursday's district title game on the line.
Unlike a week ago in Preston, the Lady Broncos were determined to make sure they clinched their spot in the title game.
Cassandra Clarke's goal in the 47th minute proved to the difference as Blackfoot earned a hard fought 1-0 victory.
"That was sweet redemption for us right there," Blackfoot head coach Alisha Yeates said. "Not only is it redemption for what happened last week, but it is also redemption for last year as they knocked us out of the tournament as well."
The deciding goal for the Lady Broncos came when Clarke got free in the penalty area and beat a handful of Preston defenders and sent the ball into the back of the net.
For most of the game Preston had three or four defenders around Clarke to try and keep her bottled up and unable to get a free run on the goal. And for most of the game that worked, that was until she got free early in the second half.
After the goal, immediately faced a ton of pressure from the Preston offense. In fact, most of the last 30 minutes of the game was played in the Preston half of the field as the desperate Indians tried to make a play to tie the game.
"Our back line was great today," Yeates said. "They did a great job on stepping up and defending under lot of pressure. Anicia Luna was the star for us today for a freshman to play they she did was fantastic."
Luna came up with a handful of crucial clearing plays late in the second half while the Broncos were under pressure from the Indians.
But the Broncos were up to the task of stopping the Indians and goalie Madison Leslie stopped every shot she faced.
"I noticed early on that Preston was popping shot up into the air and hoping for a mistake," Yeates said. "That plan won't work when you have a good goalie."
Blackfoot had a chance to add a second goal late in the second half when Maria Labra sent a spinning shot towards Preston goalie Kassie Burton who made a juggling save.
Things got a little chippy between the two teams in the second half as hard tackles and a lot of pushing was going on in the middle of the field.
"That was such a close game," Yeates said. "I was pacing back and forth the entire time."
The victory earns Blackfoot a rematch with Century on Thursday at 4 p.m. for the district championship.
"I am so excited," Yeates said. "The girls told me it is the first time they have played for the district title since the seniors have been in high school. So this is a big deal for us."