TWIN FALLS — The Twin Falls High School boys soccer team can’t seem to avoid it, no matter how big the lead gets.
The Bruins are plagued by the tie curse.
It struck again on Monday at Canyon Ridge High School. Twin Falls built an early 2-0 lead, but the game ended in a 2-2 tie, the second Twin Falls-Canyon Ridge stalemate in the last five days.
Twin Falls has played 13 games so far this season. Nearly half (six) have ended in ties.
Get to the Great Basin Conference level, and those numbers are even more stark. Five of Twin Falls’ nine conference matches have resulted in draws, including Thursday’s 1-1 home battle against Canyon Ridge.
The Bruins wish they could fully explain their tie tendencies. They also wish a few of those ties turned into victories.
Right now, with one game to play, Twin Falls is staring at the No. 4 seed in the district tournament. If three or more of those five conference ties had turned into wins, the Bruins would be gunning for the No. 2 seed.
But every tie is an upright coin. Those winner-less games could have easily been losses for Twin Falls, and the season would feel much darker.
Monday’s rivalry game was a good example of the bittersweet feeling that comes with a tie.
In the fourth minute, Twin Falls junior Jake Hillman was in the goalie box. Canyon Ridge keeper Jair Garibay was on the ground after diving for the ball, so nobody was in front of the net. Hillman missed high and wide right.
A couple minutes later, the Bruins had another good look in the box, but the shot doinked off the left post.
Hillman redeemed himself in the 23rd minute with a goal to open the scoring.
“Everyone told me to keep my head up, and it paid off,” Hillman said.
Twelve minutes later, Sergio Valera scored on a free kick to put the Bruins up 2-0.
Right before the half ended, Canyon Ridge freshman Mohammed Mohamed delivered a pass from the right side of the box to senior Sagar Bhattarai, who netted a header to cut the deficit in half.
Mohamed’s brother, Abdelgadir Mohamed, scored in the 49th minute on a rebound to tie the game up.
The rest of the game was hard-fought and often chippy. A few yellow cards were handed out, but no more goals were scored.
“The first half, we dominated the game. We played like I know we can,” Bruins coach J.J. Stagge said. “Second half, I don’t know, it was like we hit a funk, and we couldn’t put passes together. I don’t know what it was.”
Players from both sides, including Hillman, were visibly exhausted after the game.
“My whole body hurts,” Hillman said right after the game.
Hillman’s fourth-minute miss felt extra painful in hindsight, but it was one of several good looks — on both sides — that narrowly missed. So it goes with a tie. Both teams lament the breaks that didn’t go their way while they breathe sighs of relief about the breaks that did.
Twin Falls and Canyon Ridge (10-2-2, 5-2-2) wrap up their regular seasons on Wednesday. The Bruins host Minico, and the Riverhawks play at Jerome.
Canyon Ridge coach Corey Farnsworth said he’d like to see Twin Falls again. Stagge will be confident against whomever his team plays at the district tournament.
“At districts,” Stagge said, “there are no ties.”