POCATELLO — Pocatello’s high-flying, unbeaten start to the season came crashing to a halt Wednesday, as Twin Falls scored four first-half goals and cruised to a 7-1 win over the Indians at Hawthorne Park.
Madelyn McQueen and Kaylin Bailey each scored twice for the Bruins (10-0-1, 8-0 4A District 4-5), who used a high-pressure system to unnerve and overrun the Indians (6-1-1, 6-1-1 4A District 4-5).
It was the 10th win in a row for Twin Falls, which was ranked third in 4A in the most recent IdahoSports.com coaches poll and entered Wednesday’s game with a small edge on second-place Pocatello for the lead in the 4A District 4-5 standings.
“I think we just weren’t quite used to the intensity they were going to bring,” Pocatello coach Eric Davis said. “We knew it was going to come, we just weren’t quite as ready as we should have been for it. (Twin Falls) brings a lot of intensity, does a lot of physical work on players, and that just gave us a little bit more to think about.”
PHOTOS: Pocatello vs. Twin Falls soccer
Pocatello played the Bruins pretty evenly for the first five minutes, but went down on an unlucky bounce in the 7th minute of play.
A corner kick fell to Brinlee Stotts in the box. The Twin Falls senior mishit her shot, but it looped over the Pocatello goalkeeper and, perhaps with the help of a gust of wind, into the back of the net.
“I think (that goal) took a little more out of us than I’d like to admit,” Davis said.
“I think the girls did recover quickly, but the intensity just kept hammering on them and hammering on them.”
Twin Falls soon went to work scoring non-fluke goals.
In the 13th, McQueen outfought two Pocatello defenders to the ball in the middle of the box. Still hemmed in on both sides, she turned and fired low past the goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead.
McQueen added her second goal in the 25th minute with an easy finish after a cross from the left was spilled at her feet, and Bailey capped the dominant first half for Twin Falls with a bending free kick from a tough angle on the right that snuck in at the near post.
“I was really happy,” Twin Falls coach Katie Kauffman said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but they came out and they played high-pressure soccer. I’m really, really proud of the way they played.”
The first half was mostly one-way traffic, as Pocatello had very little meaningful possession on Twin Falls’ side of the field. Adi Spillett, playing through the middle either as an attacking midfielder or a forward, had a few moments, but was usually isolated and surrounded by defenders whenever she received the ball.
Davis moved Spillett out to the right wing to start the second half, which made it harder for Twin Falls to get a second defender on her. The Pocatello star responded, using her speed and skill to get space, put in crosses and draw corners.
“It just gave her a chance to go against different players, and she needs a little bit of versatility like that,” Davis said. “She’s one of the best out there, and (moving her around) gives her a really good opportunity to play against a bunch of different girls and show them what she can do against them.”
That evened the game out a little bit, and neither team scored for about the first 35 minutes of the second half, which only set up a frantic finish.
Aylah Strong scored for Twin Falls after a scramble in the box, and Paige Beem added a sixth for the Bruins on a free kick from just inside the halfway circle.
Alexis Hubbard finally got the consolation goal for Pocatello with a nice lobbed finish from the left side, but Bailey completed her brace and locked in the final 7-1 score with a shot from deep in the final minutes.
Pocatello plays Saturday at Canyon Ridge.