POCATELLO — For the Highland girls soccer team in its district championship game against the Madison Bobcats, the best defense was a good offense.
The Rams stifled the Bobcats, keeping the ball on the visitors’ side of the pitch for most of the game on their way to a 3-0 victory Thursday afternoon at Hawthorne Park.
Two goals by sophomore forward Abby Satterfield bookended a goal in heavy traffic by junior forward/midfielder Saydree Bell. The trio of scores was more than enough to earn the Rams the 5A District 5-6 championship as well as punch the team’s ticket to the state championship.
Highland head coach Korbie Vaughn, all smiles after the game, was elated with her squad’s performance.
“It feels amazing,” Vaughn said. “It’s been several years since we’ve had that trophy, and it feels good to have it back.
“These girls earned it. They’ve been working really hard and been putting in that extra time and effort.”
Time, specifically practice time, was at a premium for Vaughn’s team with COVID-19 causing widespread throttling of pitch time.
It was near impossible to tell from the Rams’ performance, starting when Satterfield booted a keeper-deflected ball back into the net 11 minutes into the first half to open the scoring.
Despite a short lull between their first and second goals, the Rams consistently had good looks at the Bobcat goal, necessitating multiple sensational diving and leaping stops by Madison’s goalkeeper. In addition to winning the field position battle consistently throughout the match, Highland dominated the shots-on-goal statistic, firing 19 shots on goal compared to just five for Madison.
In addition to the 5A District 5-6 title, the victory earns Highland a first-round matchup in the state tournament against Kuna on Thursday, October 22, at Lake City High School in Coeur D’Alene.
Vaughn says her team is thrilled with the opportunity but is staying focused on continual improvement.
“We’re going to continue to focus on the things we can improve on,” Vaughn said. “We’re going to work at those things, tighten things up and keep getting better.”
While there are some powerhouses in the state tournament field, Vaughn sees a great opportunity for the Rams in Coeur D’Alene.
“You get to the state tournament and you never know who could win, so we’re going to go forward with that mindset,” Vaughan said.
Despite the loss, Madison still has the chance of playing its way into the state tournament, and will face off against either Thunder Ridge or Idaho Falls on Saturday for the opportunity to do so.