BUHL — Buhl head coach Araceli Huicochea can’t remember the last time that her team strung together three-straight victories.
Not at the start of a season. Not at the middle. Nor at its end.
In her six years as the Indians’ head coach, Huicochea can’t recall that sort of winning streak.
Then Wednesday happened.
Junior Madison Somers scored three goals as Buhl shutout 3A High Desert rival Gooding, 4-0, in the Indians’ home opener. Buhl improved to 3-0 in 2016 with the win.
“It’s a change for the girls to have one after another. They’re taking this moment,” Huicochea said. “I can’t remember the last time we had three in-a-row, whether it was at the beginning or the end. So, yeah, it’s definitely exciting. They’re all doing an awesome job and they’re wonderful girls.”
Somers scored two of her goals in the first half, one of which came on a penalty kick. Somers and Natasha Texeira capped off the scoring for the Indians in the second half.
“I was just feeling good today. It was just one of those days,” said Somers. “We all had a positive attitude, and that kept me up.”
Despite rotating goalies at halftime, the Buhl defense was solid all day. The Indians were constantly in the right position and rarely let the ball get near the goal.
First-year Gooding head coach Robert Alania knew his team might take lumps early in the 2016 season. Those lumps reared their heads Wednesday on a few occasions. Though the score was just 2-0 at halftime, Buhl was firmly in control from start to finish.
“We lost a couple girls a little early. It was hard to recover those positions,” said Alania. “We’re still working. We’re a program in transition.”
Buhl has admittedly been surprised by its strong start. Huicochea believes part of the improvement has been due to the addition of a pair of assistant coaches to the full-time staff.
Given that the Indians have 23 players on their roster, the more coaches the merrier.
“It’s just great to have more eyes,” Huicochea said. “With 23 girls it’s always been hard to get to all of them. But now I feel like everybody is getting that one-on-one time. That’s motivating to them.”
Buhl will look to keep its early-season winning streak going this weekend against American Falls and Marsh Valley. Though they know the streak will likely come to an end eventually, the close-knit group of players and coaches on the Indians’ sidelines are enjoying every moment of an unexpected ride.
“This is a very big surprise to me,” Somers said with a laugh. “We’re all friends and we don’t get mad at each other ... We’re all kind of one big family.”
Gooding hosts Declo next Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Despite the loss against Buhl, Alania remains optimistic.
“I’m trying to learn the program … and it’s a little difficult. I haven’t seen any of these girls play prior,” said Alania. “(But) I think we can come back and compete with pretty much any team in this conference.”
Buhl boys paste Gooding
BUHL — There seems to be plenty of offense to go around for Buhl.
Eight different players scored goals against Gooding Tuesday night en route to a 9-2 victory over the Senators. The Indians took a lead on a Sebastian Loza goal just three minutes into the game and didn’t look back from there.
“We played a very good game. The guys did what I asked them to do. Keep the pressure up, passing,” second-year head coach Selvedin Mustafic said. “Winning 50-50 balls, that’s what happens. You want it a little bit more than the other (team), you might win that 50-50 challenge. And from there, anything can happen.”
Loza led the team with two goals in a game the Indians led, 7-0, at halftime.
“We were able to connect those perfect passes,” Loza said. “I just love that they were able to give me those good throws.”
Buhl lost its opener to Bliss last week, 8-1, but has come back strong to win its last two against Declo and Gooding. Mustafic attributes that to strong leadership from young players and an atmosphere that promotes camaraderie.
“We have kids that were ninth grade last year and tenth grade this year that have stepped up,” Mustafic said. “I think I have a pretty good family here.”
Mustafic expects to have 20 players on his roster soon as players become eligible after completing the mandated 10 practices. With a 3A High Desert Conference that features a lot of youth, Mustafic thinks his Buhl team has a shot.
That optimism is contagious.
“Really, I’m a little confused. I feel like it could be anybody’s game,” Mustafic said with a laugh. “I’m really excited that the kids came back. (I’m) just excited that we get good numbers ... Hopefully we can hit that cruise control and keep it going.”
Filer 4, Wendell 1
Siasha Serratos had two goals, including a penalty kick from 50 feet, while Estafany Vargas and Hallie Weighall each added one for Filer, now 2-1 on the season.
Nohely Torres scored the goal for Wendell, now 1-2 on the season.
Filer 3, Wendell 1
Filer got goals from Cody Ruiz, Douglas Chatterton and Michael Ippolito. The Trojans dropped to 0-3. Bryan Alvarado scored for Wendell, assisted by Christain Rodriguez.
Both teams resume play next Tuesday.