FILER – The Filer Wildcats came close. They came close again. Then they came even closer.

And that was it.

Despite an initially relentless offensive attack and a strong game by sophomore goalkeeper Sophie Bartholomew, Filer lost to Buhl 4-1 Thursday in a High Desert Conference match.

Just a few minutes into the game, Buhl struck first on a goal by Madison Somers. Filer dominated possession for the next 35 minutes, but struggled to break through with the final clean pass, which was typically intended for standout sophomore Saisha Serratos.

With four minutes left in the first half, Filer senior Colbie Kliegl finally broke through with the equalizing goal when Buhl’s back line misplayed a clearance attempt.

That would be the last time Buhl’s defense slipped up.

The Indians withstood a barrage of Filer scoring opportunities in the game’s first 50 minutes, then let their superior conditioning take over in the final 30.

“Sometimes we’re a little slow to start, just working out the kinks. These ladies always finish better than they start,” said Buhl head coach Araceli Huicochea. “They looked less tired at the end, which I guess is a little weird.”

Weird, but true.

Junior Natasha Teixeira scored goals in the 50th and 71st minutes, then freshman Lina Garcia added a goal in the game’s closing seconds. The Indians’ defense, anchored by senior sweeper Kayanna Zamora, remained steady and turned away Filer’s scoring opportunities.

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“We have nine seniors and a lot of underclassmen. We have some new freshman, and we learn from it,” Zamora said. “We learn how to set that line to get them offside, and if not, we’re able to go and get the ball. That’s one of the tactics that we use.”

Once Filer wore down late in the second-half heat, its strikers were caught offside on several occasions as the experienced Buhl team, which features nine senior starters, aggressively pushed forward.

The Wildcats also settled for shots from well outside the 18-yard box as the Indians closed down the back line with fresh legs.

“Our back line is solid. Unless one of them is injured or something is wrong, those girls don’t change. It starts with our sweeper, Kayanna. They just don’t get past her, or if they do, they have to trick her to do it,” Huicochea said.

Buhl hosts Declo on Tuesday in a conference matchup, and Filer hosts Gooding on the same day.

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