KINGMAN - When the teams took the pitch Tuesday, there was no telling what would happen with wind speeds at 38 miles per hour and gusting up to 49. In the end, the wind had little effect on the Kingman High boys soccer team in their win over Wickenburg at KHS, 8-2. It was the second win over the Wranglers in a week for the Bulldogs.
Kingman (3-0) began the game with the wind in their faces but managed to hold a halftime lead, 2-1. In the 14th minute, senior Brett Sipe was the recipient of a terrific lead pass from Daniel Riccardi. Sipe motored past the Wickenburg defense and went one-on-one with Wrangler keeper Marcus Bland. Sipe's shot found the net and the Bulldogs led, 1-0.
It was Sipe again who extended Kingman's lead when Manuel Tadeo found him open down the center. Sipe's boot landed in the left side of goal near the post.
"We wanted the wind to our back in the first half, but that didn't happen," Sipe said. "We made sure we controlled the ball in the first half by making sure our kicks went low."
Wickenburg made things interesting in the 32nd minute when Francisco Contreras assisted Daniel Lozano, who got behind the Kingman defense and placed a shot past Bulldogs keeper Eric Venenga. Wickenburg managed 11 shots on goal, and Venenga saved six.
"The wind was brutal," said KHS coach Kevin Wilkerson. "But our midfielders are strong and our strikers are seasoned."
When the teams reversed direction for the second half with Kingman ahead, 2-1, the Bulldog onslaught began. From the 44th into the 46th minutes, Kingman scored four goals to put the game out of reach.
David Amador scored two consecutive goals for the Bulldogs, Bjorn Porlein glanced a shot off of Bland that found the net, and Sipe turned in a hat trick with his third goal of the night.
"When we got the wind, we hit them," Sipe said.
Wickenburg added its second goal of the game in the 62nd minute. Amador matched Sipe with a hat trick, scoring his third in the 75th, and Justin Yarush scored the game's final goal in the last minute of play.
Amador and Tadeo each had three assists in the match. Jay McNiven assisted on two goals, and Riccardi and Porlein both had one.
This is the first time in years the Bulldogs have opened the season with three wins. It's starting to stir up some long-term thinking.
"I'm really excited about this season," Sipe said. "This should be the best in my four years."
Kingman hosted Lake Havasu (0-1) Thursday. Results were not available by deadline. The Knights did lose to Mohave Tuesday, 15-0.
"We beat them once and tied them the other last year," said Wilkerson about Havasu. "It's going to be super cold."