It took some time for the injury-riddled Grizzlies to gel, but they certainly appear to be peaking at the right time.
Bizzy Arevalo scored three times — all assisted by Whitney Lopez — and set up two more goals, and 12th-seeded Logan outshot 21st-seeded Bear River 28-0 en route to a 6-0 drubbing of the Bears in the first round of the 4A Girls Soccer Championships on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Crimson Field.
The Grizzlies (8-9-0) found the back of the net three times in a 11-minute stretch of the first half and never looked back en route to their fourth straight win and second consecutive shutout. Additionally, the hosts tallied their most goals in a game this season.
“I definitely think if we can play the way that we came out during the second half of the first half, if we can play that way throughout a whole game, we will be unstoppable for the rest of our season, especially if we get our whole team involved,” Logan outside back Kylee Thanadabout said. “We are an amazing team as a whole, but we can’t do it individually.”
The Grizzlies showcased first-rate variety in the attack as they pieced together some crisp combination play, delivered several well-weighted through balls, whipped in a wealth of good crosses and played several effective corner balls. The only thing Logan was really missing was a goal off a set piece.
“I felt like we did really good,” junior Ashley Coppin said. “We really started to work together and involve everyone on the field, and I was really proud of everyone. It was a good game.”
Arevalo recorded her second hat trick of the season against the Bears (2-15-0) and narrowly missed converting on three of four other opportunities. The speedy junior gave Logan a lead it wouldn’t relinquish when she tracked down a Lopez through ball and beat the Bear River goalkeeper on a breakaway in the 12th minute.
Arevalo struck again three minutes later with a one-time finish off a Lopez cross just outside the 6-yard box.
Logan’s lead ballooned to 3-0 with about 14 minutes remaining in the opening half on a lovely strike by Thanadabout. The sophomore collected a pass from Arevalo and curled a right-footed shot just inside the upper 90 of the far post.
The Grizzlies continued to pepper shots at the Bear River goal in the second half as they dented the scoreboard three more times before the 62nd minute. Arevalo netted her 11th goal of the season on another one-v-one. The goal was set up by a sublime chip from Lopez 12 minutes into the half.
Alec Kennington made in 5-0 five minutes later with a one-time effort inside the near post on a pass to feet from Arevalo. Coppin put the finishing touches on the win when she played a dangerous ball into the 18-yard box that scooted past the Bear River keeper. Emily Hilario made a nice, penetrating run, causing the keeper to hesitate a little bit.
Emma Browning and Thanadabout fired shots off the woodwork in the second half, and Logan also found the post in the opening half. The Grizzlies put 16 of their 28 shots on frame and would have ended the match via the mercy rule had they been a little more clinical.
“(We were) pretty consistent,” LHS head coach Natalie Norris said. “I do think we do need to take better advantage of our goal scoring opportunities and that’s been something we’ve seen all year, but it was very obvious today. And so that will be something we’ll be working on the next couple days of practice.”
Logan only made one shaky decision defensively, but it was quickly cleaned up by Thanadabout. Outside back Anna Arnljots Tlatelpa owned the left side of the pitch for the Grizzlies, who secured their fifth clean sheet of the season. Milly Garren went the full 80 minutes in goal for the hosts.
Up next for Logan is a round of 16 matchup on the road against fifth-seeded Cedar Valley (11-5-0) Wednesday at 3 p.m. Under the old playoff format, the Grizzlies would have played a team like the Aviators in the first round.
“I would have preferred to jump in with both feet, but we just took it as an opportunity, instead of an extra game kind of thing,” said Norris, whose side beat Bear River 2-0 and 5-2 during the regular season. “So, we just worked on playing as a team and trying to get up to our own level and stay consistent with that, which we still clearly need to work on. But we played a good game.”