Expectations grow for Huskie soccer

Emmett’s Kiko Solis is finding a lot of defensive attention from Southern Idaho Conference opponents this season.

After a two-year victory drought, the Emmett High boys soccer team is beginning to learn that there is pressure in winning, not just in losing. Off to a perfect start to the season, the Huskies have soared to the number-two position in the State coaches boys soccer poll. Tuesday evening they will be tested at home at Gregory Field when number-one and defending State champion Caldwell comes to town.

Last week the team rolled past three opponents. Actually 2.5 opponents.

The Huskies started the road sweep week with a 4-2 win over Vallivue as Kiko Solis recorded his third three-goal game of the season and Paxton Gregory netted his second counter of the year.

Thursday was all Emmett at Kuna, at least for 25 minutes. Two more Solis goals and a counter by Oscar Lara put the Huskies up 3-0 when the game was suspended due to lightening. The game is tentatively scheduled to be completed this coming Saturday in Kuna.

Saturday it was two more Solis goals and an own goal committed by the Wildcats that saw Emmett leave Columbia with a 3-1 win.

The Huskies have outscored their first six opponents by a combined 20-6 margin with Solis being credited with 14 of the Emmett goals. That pace is likely to reset Emmett record books and possibly Southern Idaho Conference records as well.

Solis will likely go head to head and elbow to elbow with Caldwell scoring ace Damian Arguello on Tuesday evening. Arguello is the premiere returning player from the Cougars title run last season.

It will be interesting to see if Caldwell chooses to double team Solis like most of Emmett’s opponents have attempted this season. The attention that the Emmett senior receives has at times left teammates wide open to take their shots on goal as well this season.

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His ability to strike from outside the goalie box, however, makes him difficult to cover with one man. Solis has nailed nearly his half his goals from twenty yards out or further. One of his goals against Vallivue was actually caught by the Falcon goalie but the force of the kick carried the goalie into the goal for the score.

Coach Aristeo Alvizo admits he’s impressed with the offensive prowess Solis is putting forth this season but he’s even more impressed with the team’s collective aggressive play at both ends of the field. He cited excellent defensive play as fueling the vertical offensive attacks. In the Vallivue win senior goalie Sebastian Carmona recorded a number of vital saves, including smothering a penalty kick.

Getting off the bus at home after the road win at Columbia on Saturday the Huskies players collectively commented that another win was great but that there is still a lot of work to do. This team is essentially the same team that went winless the past two seasons, though Solis missed much of 2018. Memories of that lack of success have not disappeared as the wins have mounted this fall.

For junior forward Harrison Mumford those memories are a cautionary tale.

“This is a great feeling,” Mumford said. “But we know how close it can be to going the other direction with any let down on our part. It’s great to have a weapon like Kiko but we have a lot of parts that are working together to make this happen and we have to keep getting better at that.”

Caldwell also is undefeated in SIC play this fall, though the Cougars have been tied by a Nampa team that Emmett edged 1-0. Regardless the outcome of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. encounter with Caldwell and a Thursday home meeting with Ridgevue, there is still another run through the same lineup of conference competition to be completed.

The early success this fall has given the Huskies a definitive taste for winning and they have no plans for that to change any time soon.

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