RHS blanks SV; MC, LHS also win
MILLVILLE — Ridgeline’s girls soccer team picked up its second straight Region 11 win, beating Sky View 3-0 Thursday evening at home, extending the team’s best start to league play in school history.
London Miller opened the scoring for the Riverhawks (6-2,-0, 2-0-0). The leading scorer for Region 11 with 17 goals heading into the night put home her 18th of the year in the ninth minute. She fougth through the defense and slotted the ball home past Sky View goalkeeper Katie Finlinson on a set piece corner after her initial shot was blocked by a defender.
Overall, the first half played fairly evenly for both sides. Sky View (5-3-0, 1-1-0) created five shots, putting two on goal. Ridgeline only did slightly better with six total shots, with three making it on frame.
The second half proved to be a much different story.
In the latter 40 minutes, the Riverhawks turned the intensity up to 11, testing the full range of Finlinson. They put 10 shots on goal through a variety of actions, primarily through its dynamic midfield/forward trio of Miller, Abbie Kotter and Halle Van Yperen.
To Finlinson’s credit, she repulsed the vast majority of the shots, making eight second-half saves alone, many equal to and often superior than the strikes off the feet of Ridgeline’s strikers.
“Their goalkeeper was phenomenal tonight,” RHS head coach Mark Tureson said. “Hats off to her. She made some incredible saves.”
However, two shots eventually made it through. Kotter redirected a corner into the right side of the net in the 48th minute, and Van Yperen converted the best goal of the night, sending a low strike home from the top of the 18-yard box into the left side of the net.
“Our girls at halftime committed themselves to getting the ball off their feet earlier, finding each other quicker and I think that helped us connect passes,” Tureson said. “... This has been our coaching point all year is when you get in the attacking third, you’ve got to keep moving. And tonight, they made the runs. They made the movement. They made it hard for them to know who to guard and where to go.”
All of that motion, in addition to confusing and breaking down the Bobcats’ defense, which allowed a mere five goals prior to Thursday, helped to tire out the resistence.
“That got (Sky View) a little bit tired in the second half,” Tureson said. “They’re an excellent team. Their defensively very good, so it took us a long time to try and break them down, and it was very difficult.”
Sky View head coach Sharron Wood didn’t attribute the second-half dip in performance to fatigue, but simply not “putting a full game together.”
“That’s been our problem is we’re a team of two halves,” she said. “We play really good one half, the second half, it’s questionable. They work hard, but we just can’t put a full game together.”
Ridgeline’s region run is all of two games long at this point, nothing too special or worldbreaking. Still, it’s a far cry from previous seasons where, like this year, they dominate in the preseason but limp through the region schedule. Last year, the Riverhawks were an undefeated 5-0 in non-region play before ending the regular season on a 4-5-1 run and a fourth-place finish in Region 12.
Miller, a senior and three-year veteren of the team, was around for last year’s strong start/weak finish and, like Tureson said, is determined to see a repeat in history.
“It’s been a big thing because the last two years we started out super good and as region comes our play gets down,” Miller said. “So that’s been our main goal to keep the play up and instead of our play level going down, we’ve just been trying to keep getting better every single game.”
After all of Thursday’s results were in, the Riverhawks stood as the lone undefeated team in region play. It’s nice for now, but Miller knows just how difficult playing in Cache Valley is.
“Every single game is a championship game,” Miller said. “Everyone is so good here, so we just have to play every single game like it’s our last because this region is just super tough; so much talent.”
For Sky View, the loss snapped a three-game win streak dating back to Aug. 20. In the Bobcats’ last two games they’ve suddenly developed the yips in terms of scoring. They put home 14 goals in six games to start the year, but have just one in the last two games.
Wood praised her team for not giving up, but emphasized that they haven’t fulfilled their potential yet and won’t until they are able to play a more complete 80 minutes.
“It’s something that they’ve got to pull from inside themselves in order to win their games,” Wood said. “They have the skills to beat any team in this region, but they have to decide that they can do it.”
MUSTANGS 2, WOLVES 1 (OT)
Mountain Crest ended Green Canyon’s undefeated start to the season, pulling off a thrilling upset at home.
The Mustangs (2-5-1, 1-1-0) nearly sealed the deal in regulation, holding on to a 1-0 lead after Keiera Nielson’s 50th minute goal until the dying moments of the game. But Ryley Thompson found the back of the net off the assist from Kaizley Holbrook with under 10 seconds left on the clock to force the extra period and give the Wolves (6-1-0, 1-1-0) hope.
In that additional frame, Mountain Crest eventually got a goal on a free kick. Ellie Parker again served the ball in, and Harmony Newman struck the ball true for the golden goal. Parker also got the assist on Nielson’s goal.
“I was so proud of my girls,” MC head coach Amber Hyatt said. “Every single person that stepped on that field tonight played well. It was an all-around team effort. I’m so happy they didn’t give up and kept fighting. They really wanted to win that game and they got the job done.”
GRIZZLIES 2, BEARS 0
Logan snapped a five-game losing streak and won its first region game of the year. It wasn’t grand, coming against now last-place Bear River (2-6-0, 0-2-0), but it’s something for Logan (2-6-0, 1-1-0).
“A win is a win and I hope we can just build from here,” Logan head coach Natalie Norris said.
Ashley Coppin scored first in the 29th minute off the long assist by goalkeeper Cadence Martindale. In the second half, Alec Kennington gave her team an insurance goal in the 65th minute, assisted by Bizzy Arevalo.
The Grizzlies have had a very humble start to the season, losing six of their first seven games. They’ve played a gauntlet of a schedule, but the losses and -15 goal differential in those first seven contests had a quite different feel than last seasons team which ran the table in Region 12 and lost only two games in the regular season.
“Our team has been through a lot of ups and downs this season, but it’s brought us together in ways I never expected,” Norris said.