Sensational. Remarkable. Extraordinary. Electrifying. Breathtaking. Marvelous. Astonishing.
All of those adjectives aptly described Mia Lopez’s performance in Logan’s 6-4 victory over Sky View in a Region 11 girls soccer match on Tuesday evening at Crimson Field. The freshman scored four clinical goals as the Grizzlies came storming back from a 2-0 deficit in the first half.
“I don’t have words for that,” LHS head coach Natalie Norris said. “That was single-handedly the best performance I’ve ever seen and she’s coming off an injury. I haven’t had her for the last two-and-a-half games. She comes in yesterday to practice and then comes on the field and performs that magic, I can’t ask for any more. I’m literally dumbfounded. She’s incredible and I’m so glad she’s mine.”
Ironically enough, Lopez was a bit off target in the early going. No. 10 didn’t put any of her first four shots on frame, including a volley at the top of the 6-yard box that drilled the crossbar. To say Lopez redeemed herself was a gross understatement.
“At first I was panicking because I couldn’t finish,” said Lopez, who helped propel her La Roca club team to a national championship this summer. “I was frustrated, but after kind of getting told to calm down and just play my game, it was a weight lifted off of my shoulders just to be able to finish the first one, and then keep them coming. I just kept going from there.”
Lopez’s first goal, netted in the 37th minute, gave the Grizzlies some life, not to mention sliced their deficit in half. Despite being tightly marked, the crafty Lopez managed to beat a couple of defenders off the dribble and created just enough space to bury a low left-footed shot inside the right post.
That left foot was deadly in the second half and was responsible for all of Lopez’s goals on the evening. No. 10’s second goal was a jaw-dropping strike on the run that dipped just inside the far post from a very difficult angle. A clever hesitation dribble allowed Lopez to beat her defender and get her shot off from at least 25 yards out.
Sky View (6-7, 0-6) bounced back less than two minutes later courtesy of a lovely free kick by Maysen McKay from 27 or so yards out. That gave the visitors a 3-2 lead, but it was short-lived.
That’s because Lopez equalized one minute later after winning a 50-50 ball in the 18-yard box. The freshman gave the hosts the lead midway through the second half when she dribbled at least 35 yards and unleashed another world class effort from distance that tucked inside the back post.
Laura Coppin and Emma Browning got into the scoring mix for the Grizzlies (5-7, 3-3), who rattled off four unanswered goals in the second half. Coppin was at the right place at the right time when a loose ball deflected to the left post and she finished from point-blank range. Browning, who assisted on Lopez’s second goal, put herself into scoring position with a good individual effort and somehow slipped a shot past the goalkeeper at the near post.
“I’m so happy for (my players),” Norris said. “For them to get that kind of game after being down 2-0 and to see us come back and get the win, that just makes my heart happy for them to finally see their hard work translate to the field. It was awesome.”
The Bobcats netted their final goal when the always dangerous Laney Gibbons converted on a penalty kick in the 78th minute. A powerful header by Reese Thurston off a Gibbons corner kick resulted in Sky View’s second goal.
Amalia Fonua gave the visitors a 1-0 advantage midway through the opening half when she collected a loose ball, took one dribble and finished in impressive fashion with her right foot from roughly 25 yards out.
The Bobcats were dangerous in the attack throughout the game as they fired off 17 shots. To their credit, though, the Grizzlies were calm and collected defensively in the run of play.
“I was extremely impressed with my backline,” Norris said. “Aliza Dana and Onyx Kennington both killed it for us as center backs, but my whole defensive line (played well). I had a couple of people switching as outside backs, I had a center mid switch and they all stepped up huge for us and just did their job.”
Logan keeper Milly Garren showcased her powerful right leg on a pair of 50-55-yard free kicks that forced Sky View keeper Jada Westover to gamely catch a foot or so below the crossbar.
There is only one undefeated team in Region 11 action now as Mountain Crest (11-1, 6-0) made the short drive to Millville and left with a 3-0 win over Ridgeline (6-5, 4-1). Meanwhile, Cambree Tensmeyer’s brace propelled Green Canyon (5-6, 3-2) to a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph over visiting Bear River (3-9, 1-5).
Baylie Baldwin found the back of the net in the first half for the Mustangs, who got insurance goals after halftime from Addyson Sofonia and Summer Sofonia. The final goal was assisted by Bentli Barrera.
Mountain Crest keeper Jade Harris made what head coach Amber Hyatt called “three very big saves” as the visitors secured their seventh clean sheet of the season.
“I would say that wasn’t our prettiest soccer game we’ve ever played, but we got the job done and overall played a full 80 minutes,” Hyatt said. “My girls played hard that whole game and with lots of energy. We were able to put the ball in the back of the net when we had our chances. Our defense did a great job of shutting down and limiting their chances. ... It’s always a tight, intense game when playing Ridgeline and I’m proud of my girls for staying composed and finishing the game.”
Bear River jumped out to an early 1-0 lead over Green Canyon, which equalized in the second half. Kayleigh Hastings took a shot for the Wolves and Tensmeyer was there for the rebound.
The match went to overtime and it ended with a bang as Lizzy Seeley played a through ball to the speedy Tensmeyer just seconds after the kickoff, and she slotted her shot past the Bear River keeper, whose performance Green Canyon head coach Ed Herberling praised.
“It was great to see our girls come back in the second half with an energy, passion and commitment to get the job done tonight,” Herberling said. “I didn’t get them properly prepared before the game, so we came out a bit flat and Bear River was able to get a counterattack goal. ... Our girls got the job done in the first 15 seconds of overtime with some great play off the kickoff for Tens to finish her second goal of the night.”