A wealth of spring sporting events involving local high school teams were canceled or postponed the first two days of this week, but a trio of programs were able to kick off their respective seasons in successful fashion.
Ridgeline’s boys soccer squad was the first Cache Valley high school team to play this spring and the two-time returning 4A state finalists shut out 3A Ben Lomond by a 3-0 scoreline on Monday at Northridge High School. The match was originally scheduled to be contested at Ridgeline.
Two local programs were in action Tuesday as Green Canyon’s boys soccer side hosted 5A Cottonwood and earned a 3-0 victory, while Mountain Crest’s girls lacrosse team traveled to Utah County and left with a come-from-behind 12-9 win over 6A Westlake.
BOYS SOCCERRidgeline scored twice in the first 15 minutes and never looked back against Ben Lomond. The defending Region 11 champions had three different goal scorers, with Garrett Jenkins assisting on two of the goals.
The Riverhawks netted their first goal of the 2023 campaign in the fifth minute when Jenkins sent in a low-driven cross to Tate Hickman for a one-time finish. Ridgeline struck again 10 minutes later on what head coach Richard Alexander called an “amazing” diving header by Ivan Leon, assisted by Ryan Johnson.
Johnson extended Ridgeline’s advantage to 3-nil midway through the second half when he converted on a give-and-go from Jenkins. Diego Useche went the distance in goal for his first varsity clean sheet for the Riverhawks, who brought back nine of 11 starters from last year’s 14-4 side that lost to Crimson Cliffs in overtime in the state championship match. Ridgeline captured the 4A title in 2021.
“Tonight went as expected,” said Ridgeline head coach Richard Alexander, whose team missed a shot from the penalty spot with about 15 minutes remaining in the second half. “We were raw and impatient. Still a very dominant performance, controlling the tempo and possession. Good way to start our campaign.”
Meanwhile, it took the Wolves a while to break down their opponents in their season opener, but they sure finished strong. Green Canyon found the back of the net for the first time midway through the second half and then added two late insurance goals against the Colts.
Jovani Torres intercepted an attempted Cottonwood clearance, took one touch around a defender and finished far post in the 60th minute. Colby Knight gave the hosts a 2-nil advantage about 19 minutes later when he converted on a cross from Brayden Jensen, who beat a couple of Cottonwood players off the dribble.
The Wolves slammed the door less than one minute later when Brent Stevens slipped a ball into space to Fisher Arroyo, who chipped his shot over the goalkeeper’s head. Ryan Scott secured the shutout in goal for Green Canyon, which placed third in Region 11 last season.
“To be honest, this has been a tough season to get ready for,” GC head coach Kirt Sadler said. “The weather has been so terrible and we’ve had to clean off the field a couple times just to play today. We weren’t even able to hold a practice because we had to shovel the bleachers, so the result we had was a great one because as a team we haven’t practiced yet. So, I am excited to see what we can do with a couple weeks of practice.”
Mountain Crest came storming back from a 7-6 halftime deficit by outscoring Westlake 6-2 during the final 25 minutes of action.
Veterans Madi Henrie and Kamrie Wilkinson led the way offensively for the Mustangs with four goals apiece. Both athletes were very efficient as Henrie buried four of her five shots on goal, while Wilkinson deposited four of her six shots on frame into the back of the net.
Sophie Keller chipped in with two goals and one assist for the Mustangs, who got one goal and one assist from Lilly Lopez, one goal from Lauren Smith and an assist from Emily Solano. Smith and Keller teamed up to win 19 ground balls.
Sierra Maughn and Emmalee Poppleton split time in goal for Mountain Crest, which finished second in Region 11 a year ago.
“I’m so proud of my girls today,” said MC head coach Jayci Rindlisbacher, whose team has practiced outside on a limited basis since last Wednesday. “It was close the whole time, but the teamwork and chemistry this new team has is amazing. Lauren and Sophie were two big contributors to this game with ground balls and transitioning the ball down the field. Kamrie and Madie showed up with their leadership and goals to help change the momentum of the game. Overall, I’m excited to see how this team will grow this season.”
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