A lovely goal in the 36th minute by Halle Van Yperen and some resolute defending was enough for the Ridgeline girls soccer team to secure its second road victory in as many Region 11 matches.
Ridgeline shined in the opening half and held off a furious second-half surge by Logan en route to a 1-0 win on Thursday night at Crimson Field.
“Playing Logan is so difficult,” RHS head coach Mark Tureson said. “(Coach Natalie Norris) always has her girls ready and in that last part of the (second) half, they were pushing so hard. I’m super proud of the girls for absorbing all of that pressure. We absorbed a lot, but the girls were composed.”
Van Yperen was unlucky not to dent the scoreboard 28 minutes into Thursday’s showdown as she cracked a right-footed strike from distance off the underside of the crossbar. The senior wasn’t about to be denied eight minutes later, though.
Like she did on her shot off the woodwork, Van Yperen used a slick touch to maneuver the ball past a Logan defender, and this time she fired an unsavable shot inside the far post past standout goalkeeper Cadence Martindale. Van Yperen credited Tenzi Knowles for slotting her “a perfect through ball on my goal, and Oakley (Rasmussen) for playing Tenzi a perfect ball.”
The Riverhawks (5-4-0, 2-0-0) enjoyed a lot of success attacking the Grizzlies (5-4-0, 0-2-0) down the flanks in the first half. As a result, Ridgeline was able to enjoy a 10-2 edge in shots during the first 40 minutes of play.
“It’s what I want to see from them, especially against a team like Logan that battles so hard,” Tureson said of his team’s strong start. “For (our girls) to be able to control with (Logan’s players) so hard on their backs, it’s encouraging because I know that’s what we’re going to get night in and night out in our region. And if they can do that with that kind of pressure, we can only get better from there.”
To their credit, the Grizzlies cleaned up their defending in the second half and limited Ridgeline’s vaunted attack to just a couple of good scoring opportunities.
“Both of my outside backs held down the (flanks),” LHS head coach Natalie Norris said. “Actually, I had three come in and they did so well at staying with their man. They were a lot more prepared for those through balls that second half and were able to get better defensive pressure individually. They did a great job.”
Not only did Logan defend well after halftime, it was a lot more dangerous and aggressive in the attack. The Grizzlies placed eight of their 11 shots on frame in the second half. Additionally, the hosts got inside Ridgeline’s 18-yard box several times after halftime, but the final product was lacking just a little, or a first touch was a bit off.
“The biggest things we discussed were movement off the ball, and I saw a ton of that during the second half, and then also winning your individual battles,” Norris said when asked what adjustments her side made. “And both of those things improved from the first half. ... I felt like we attacked them the entire second half and we finally got shots off and on frame. Now we’ve just got to get them away from the keeper and into the net.”
Nevertheless, the Grizzlies played very well in the second half and caught a tough break when Erin Godfrey’s free kick caromed off the underside of the crossbar. The rebound went to a Logan player, but Ridgeline keeper Alivia Brenchley was able to smoother the point-blank shot.
Tureson praised the play of Brenchley — “Liv just kept everything in front of her” — who helped the Riverhawks notch their fifth shutout of the season.
Martindale made a couple of nice saves late to keep the Grizzlies within striking distance of the Riverhawks, who played the top three teams in the 5A RPI — which, along with all of the other classifications, was released Thursday — in the preseason.
“I think our preseason prepared us for anything that can come at us for the rest of the season, honestly,” Van Yperen said. “They were really good teams we played, and Logan showed up tonight. In that second half they had the ball probably more than us, but we came through.”
OTHER REGION GAMES
Green Canyon (6-1-0, 2-0-0) increased its winning streak to four by shutting out Bear River (1-5-0, 0-2-0) at home by a 3-0 scoreline, while Sky View (7-1-0, 1-1-0) bounced back from Tuesday’s setback to the Wolves by beating Mountain Crest (4-4-0, 1-1-0) on the road, 2-0.
The Wolves, who are No. 1 in the 4A RPI, dominated in possession and got goals from Kaizley Holbrook, Emma DeBerard and Ryley Thompson. Brooke Watkins went the distance in goal for Green Canyon, which earned its fourth clean sheet of the season.
“We’re polishing up some tactical things,” said GC head coach Sven Rasmussen, whose squad netted three goals in a match for the fifth time this season. “Great to keep a clean sheet and score three goals again. We’re consistent.”
The Bobcats pieced together both of their goals in the second half — the first on a shot from well outside the 18-yard box by Reese Thurston. Macy Hellstern also found the back of the net for Sky View, which got assists from Amalia Fonua and Shyanne Stokes.
Katie Finlinson and Grace Glover split time in goal for the Bobcats, who recorded their fourth shutout of the 2020 campaign.
“We had a good night of soccer,” SV head coach Jillian Carver said. “We connected so well in the middle. We stayed calm under pressure and worked hard as a team. It was a good reminder of what we are capable of. I’m so proud of these girls.”
Mountain Crest pinged a shot off the crossbar and “had quite a few dangerous chances in the second half, but just couldn’t finish,” head coach Amber Hyatt said.
All five Cache Valley teams are ranked in the top 10 of the RPI. The Wolves are followed by the Bobcats (third), Grizzlies (fifth), Mustangs (seventh) and Riverhawks (10th).
The Preston boys traveled to Bonneville and put the hurt on the Bees as they prevailed 12-1, while the Preston girls fell at home to the Bees, 2-0.
Kadin Reese paced an explosive attack for the Preston boys with three goals and one assist. Ty Miller chipped in with a pair of goals and assists, while Parker Kofoed and Tucker Daley also recorded braces. The Indians (3-2-1) also got goals from Hunter Facer, Stratton Daley and Tyce Shumway, who dished out two assists.
Meanwhile, the Preston girls (3-3-0) conceded one goal in each half and drilled three shots off the woodwork en route to their first loss at home this season.
“We created chances throughout the game, but just couldn’t finish,” PHS head coach Brandon Lyon said. “... We really defended well, but just made two mistakes and they capitalized. They took advantage of their opportunities and we didn’t with ours. All in all, we’ve just got to play better than we have been. We’ve got to be tougher.”