Idaho vs Boise State
Fans showed up in record-breaking force for the 2017 Idaho women’s soccer season opener against Boise State. The exciting game got even more exciting in the final second of play when junior defender Kelly Dopke netted a goal on a header in the last second of play.
Dopke said it is important to give the game full energy in the closing minutes of play.
“The last couple seconds you’ve just got to put everything up there,” Dopke said. “You’ve got to sell out for every single ball, so I just went up and was going to attack anything that came my way. It was either going in the back of the net or out of bounds because I wasn’t going to run back, and it went back of the net. Best thing you could ask for.”
After a scoreless regulation period, the Vandals came back to force a double overtime after surrendering a goal in the 72nd minute to the Broncos.
Idaho’s offensive attack, led in part by senior midfielder Olivia Baggerly’s persistence in pushing the ball in scoring position, ended up breaking the Broncos’ defensive front and setting the score even at 1-1.
Idaho’s intensity on the pitch was evident from the first possession. An aggressive strategy appeared to give the Vandals the upper-hand against a Boise State squad during the first half.
The Vandals held control of the game in the opening minutes, suffocating Boise State’s offensive attacks for the first 20 minutes of the match. The Broncos were unable to get within 20 yards of the goalie box until the 16th minute and did not receive a corner kick until a minute later, at which point Idaho already had four shots and three corner kicks.
Idaho ended the first half with eight shots, eight fouls and five corner kicks, compared to Boise State’s four shots, 11 fouls and only one corner kick.
The Broncos took a more aggressive offensive position throughout most of the second half, as Boise State’s Sarah Taylor nearly netted a goal set up by Raimee Sherle.
Idaho redshirt freshman Taylor Brust lined up to launch the free kick into the goalie box in the 89th minute. The kick ended up gliding right into the necessary spot, where Dopke bopped it in with a header.
Brust said she had little experience with free kicks, but felt confident with her shot.
“They put me on the ball, which is rare. I usually don’t take the free kicks but I just said a little prayer,” Brust said. “Once I served it in and saw where it was going, I knew there was no way it wasn’t going in.”
Both overtimes were closely contested as the defense of both squads stepped up. Junior goalkeeper Makayla Presgrave came up big on a save right before the first intermission and later recorded another save in the final five seconds.
Idaho head coach Derek Pittman was far from upset after his team’s miraculous start to home games in the dome, made evident by his encouragement of fan participation after Dopke’s goal.
“What more can you ask for?” Pittman said. “Tremendous crowd, so thankful for the fans, students, faculty, everyone who could come out. I know a lot of people put a tremendous amount of effort into getting people out here and we gave them a show, a really exciting finish. (I’m) really proud of our players for fighting until the bitter end.”
The final stats favored the home team. Idaho was able to get off 18 shots, five of which were on goal along with 10 corner kicks. The Vandals finished with 10 fouls, six of which resulted in yellow cards and one in a red card. This is comparable to Boise State’s recorded 11 shots, five corners and 23 fouls.
The 4,171 fans in attendance marked the largest turnout ever recorded for Idaho soccer. The match also will go down as the first time in which an NCAA women’s soccer team has ever played a regular season matchup in an indoor stadium.
The Vandals will return to play Saint Mary’s College of California 12 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Kibbie Dome.
Idaho vs Saint Mary’s
Before Sunday, the Idaho women’s soccer team had not lost a home game in more than 30 months, but Saint Mary’s ended that streak when they defeated the Vandals 1-0.
Head coach Derek Pittman said the team created its own issues on the field.
“A tough loss here at home,” Pittman said. “I felt like we did some really good things at times, made a few good decisions and created a couple of chances in the first half. We did a little better in the second half, but ultimately we gave ourselves some self-inflicted wounds, made some poor decisions in some untimely moments that ultimately cost us.”
After playing in a double overtime thriller on Friday, Pittman said today was a grind. Further hurting the Vandals was the absence of junior Claire Johnson who was serving single-game suspension.
Idaho still managed to take several shots, despite none of them hitting the back of the net. The Vandals got off a total of 12 shots on the day, seven of which were on goal.
The Gaels managed to score early and then played defensively the remainder of the game. Pittman said the opposing players were giving space rather than pressing up close, which is a different style of play than the Vandals have seen.
“We’ll learn from this,” Pittman said. “We’ll get better, but our players need to definitely take a few things away from this game and improve this week going into Hawaii.”
Idaho will look to begin another home winning streak when they square off against Hawaii at 6 p.m Friday at the Kibbie Dome.
Colton Clark and Zack Ozuna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org