SMITHFIELD — The 2019 campaign was a memorable one for Green Canyon’s girls soccer program as it went 13-3-2 and tested eventual 4A state champion Ogden in the semifinals of the playoffs before bowing out.
As successful as that team was, it did not defeat Sky View on the Bobcats’ home pitch. That’s why Tuesday’s 3-1 triumph over the Bobcats at Delbert Hansen Field was especially gratifying for the Wolves.
“It feels really good, especially since playing them all four years, we haven’t been able to beat them on their turf, and so this is a big win for us,” GC senior Hannah Sadler said. “But they gave us a really good match and that makes this win even better.”
It was a much-anticipated Region 11 opener between the Wolves and Bobcats, who are currently ranked first in 4A by The Deseret News. Not only did Green Canyon (5-1-0, 1-0-0) extend its winning streak to three, it became the first team to limit Sky View (6-1-0, 0-1-0) to fewer than three goals this season.
The Wolves, anchored by three senior defenders and four-year starting goalkeeper Brooke Watkins, have only conceded three goals in six matches so far in 2020.
“All around it was a very good performance, but we’re totally capable of hitting another gear, maybe two,” GC head coach Sven Rasmussen said. “But overall, (we had) very solid play. Again, we take pride in our defense. We did allow a goal and that was a great play by No. 8. ... We knew Sky View coming in was going to be a challenge.”
Green Canyon got off to a strong start Tuesday night offensively and defensively. The Wolves limited an explosive Bobcat attack to four shots in the first half and created a few prime scoring opportunities.
Kaizley Holbrook gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute when she lofted a 40-yard shot that Sky View keeper Katie Finlinson appeared to misread. The senior got a hand on the shot, but not enough to prevent it from going in.
Finlinson made two big plays later in the half to keep the hosts within striking distance, including a reaction save on a strike by Green Canyon first-team all-state center back McKenna Crane.
The Wolves doubled their lead five minutes into the second half when Holbrook served up a free kick to the back post and Sadler finished with her head inside the 6-yard box.
To their credit, the Bobcats didn’t fold. Instead, Sky View ratcheted up its intensity and more than doubled its shot output in the second half.
Green Canyon was absorbing a lot of pressure when Sky View’s Amalia Fonua tracked down a pass from Macy Hellstern, used a nifty move to create space and fired a sublime left-footed shot inside the far post with 15 minutes remaining in the game. Hellstern forced Watkins into a pretty challenging save seven minutes later.
“Yeah, it was awesome,” SV head coach Jillian Carver said of her team’s response from a 2-0 deficit. “After halftime, (my girls) came out hungry and that was good. They were ready to take the play to them it felt like, and they did really, really well. They calmed down, they connected passes and we definitely had a lot more opportunities than in the first half.”
Nevertheless, the Wolves were not about to be denied as they strung together a few quality chances after Fonua’s goal. Green Canyon netted that always important insurance goal on a lovely strike from distance by Emma DeBerard, which was assisted by Brooklyn Heap in the 75th minute.
“Sky View does a very good job of creating a good environment to play in,” Rasmussen said. “There’s a lot of fan involvement and a lot of cheering, so we knew coming in we had to make sure that we were mentally tough. ... Again, I’m just super proud of the girls. With all respect to Sky View, they did create a good environment, they do have some great players and they’re definitely on the upswing.”
As for the Bobcats, Tuesday’s showdown provided an early-season opportunity to gauge themselves against one of the state’s premier defenses.
“Yeah, it’s really good for us,” Carver said. “I’m grateful that we get an opportunity to learn from this game because (Green Canyon’s) definitely the biggest challenge we’ve seen this year and I’m glad we see it the first game of region (play), so that we’re a little bit more prepared for the rest of the season.”
OTHER REGION GAMES
Mountain Crest (4-3-0, 1-0-0) came from behind to beat Logan (5-3-0, 0-1-0) on the road in a shootout, while Ridgeline (4-4-0, 1-0-0) dominated on the road against Bear River (1-4-0, 0-1-0).
Freshman Tyniah White put the Grizzlies on top 15 minutes into the match on a goal that was facilitated by Alec Kennington. The Mustangs equalized midway through the second half on a Hannah Schwab goal, assisted by Baylie Baldwin.
After two scoreless overtime sessions, the two teams went to a shootout, where the Mustangs prevailed 4-2. Lexie Coggins, Manaia Tupuola, Brittney Egbert and Sadie Coggins all converted from the penalty spot for Mountain Crest, as did Logan’s Taylor Rose and Kennington.
As a result, the Mustangs were able to secure their third straight victory, while snapping the Grizzlies’ five-game winning streak. Logan, which pinged its first two penalty kicks off the post, was triumphant in a pair of shootouts during that stretch.
“I’m very proud of my girls for playing all the way to the end,” MC head coach Amber Hyatt said. “We were behind a goal and they didn’t give up. We started slow and it took us a while to get the nerves out and play our game, but I thought once we were able to settle into the game, we played well overall.”
There was no late-match drama Tuesday afternoon in Garland as the Riverhawks found the back of the net four times in each half. Halle VanYperen recorded a hat trick and Oakley Rasmussen a brace for the Riverhawks, who also got goals from Brenli Wolford, Ellie Kotter and Addie Zollinger.
Zollinger’s goal was assisted by Sydnee Zollinger, a distant relative. Tenzi Knowles and Kotter were each credited with a pair of assists, while Rasmussen set up VanYperen’s second goal.
Ridgeline head coach Mark Tureson praised the duo of Knowles and Rasmussen, and asserted they “organized our attack effectively.” Tureson was also pleased with the defensive play of Wolford, Haley Anderson and Carly Eubanks.
Alivia Brenchley and Marisol Dutson saw time in goal for the Riverhawks, who secured their fourth clean sheet of the season.
“Our girls played very organized in the back and were able to control what was thrown at them,” Tureson said. “We played a very good possession game and connected well on a difficult (grass) surface. We were able to create really good looks at the goal ... and today we capitalized on them.”
It was a good Tuesday for both Preston soccer programs as the girls thumped Marsh Valley at home, 7-0, while the boys traveled to Arimo, Idaho, and reigned supreme, 5-0.
The Preston girls exploded for six goals after halftime en route to improving to 3-0-0 against teams from the Gem State this season. The Indians have outscored those opponents by a 20-0 margin.
Addison Moser buried three shots for Preston, which also got goals from Andie Bell, Abigail Lyon, Sydnee Marlow and Isabel Gonzales. Bell was credited with two assists, while Marlow, Aimee Harris and Sydney Kelley also facilitated goals for the Indians (3-2-0).
Marlow and Hadlee Ezola split time in goal for the hosts.
“The first half was a bit of a struggle,” PHS head coach Brandon Lyon said. “We just couldn’t get any rhythm going forward. Marsh was playing a very high line and we struggled with the timing of our runs and had multiple offside calls. ... But I’m extremely happy with how the girls responded in the second half. We did a much better job of moving the ball, combining in the middle and playing the right balls.”
The Preston boys pulled away from Marsh Valley with a trio of goals after halftime. Parker Kofoed converted on a pair of shots, while Kadin Reese, Koby Bodily and Daxton Golightly also found the back of the net for the Indians (2-2-1).
Deklan Haslam, Ty Miller and JJ Higley were credited with assists for Preston, which outpointed Marsh Valley by the same scoreline twice during a five-day stretch. Tyce Shumway scored twice in that match, Miller and Golightly both contributed with one goal and one assist, Bryan Ricaldi scored, and Hunter Facer dished out an assist.