HERRIMAN — Beating the Mustangs during the 2022 high school girls soccer season was a tall order to begin with.
It was pretty much an impossible one for opponents that conceded a goal early in the first half to the defending state champions, and that trend continued in the title match of the 4A State Championships.
Hadli Barrera scored 36 seconds into the game and added a sublime insurance goal 31 minutes later to help propel top-seeded Mountain Crest to a 3-0 victory over No. 3 Snow Canyon on a chilly and windy late Saturday morning at Zions Bank Stadium.
“Our goal was to go out and score quick, and they literally did that,” MC head coach Justin Beus said while chuckling.
In the process, the Mustangs (17-3) ended a very memorable ‘22 campaign on a 13-match winning streak and all 13 of those triumphs were shutouts. Additionally, Mountain Crest went 15-0 against 4A competition this season and didn’t allow a single goal, plus broke the single-season program record with 16 clean sheets.
“It’s crazy,” said senior Brittney Egbert, a four-year starting center back for the Mustangs. “I can’t believe it and I feel like it’s just a team effort. I love our backline and I think we work so hard and we have each other’s backs. It’s awesome.”
Egbert teamed up with fellow senior Rhauli Barrera and sophomores Bentli Barrera and Summer Sofonia to anchor Mountain Crest’s downright stingy backline for the second straight season. The Mustangs went 34-6 during those two years, recorded 27 shutouts and hoisted the first-place trophy at the state tournament both times.
“It means a lot,” Egbert said when asked about this senior class leaving an indelible stamp on the program. “I’ve been doing it for four years now and winning it back to back, that’s an incredible way to finish (my high school career). ... It was a great season.”
Not only did the Mustangs only give up seven goals in 20 matches this season, they also put constant pressure on opposing defenses as they netted multiple goals all but four times and were only shut out once. Mountain Crest outscored the opposition 11-0 in its three state tourney games.
Hadli Barrera provided the only offense the two-time reigning Region 11 champions would need in the first minute. The sophomore deftly settled a nice chipped pass centrally from Addyson Sofonia and beat the Snow Canyon goalkeeper Tori Martin on a right-footed shot from about 14 yards out.
It was a big goal, inasmuch as the Mustangs played against the wind throughout the opening half.
No. 24’s second goal was, quite frankly, world class. Hadli Barrera beat two defenders off the dribble and unleashed an unsavable left-footed strike inside the upper 90 of the left post.
“(It felt) pretty good,” Hadli Barrera said when asked about scoring that kind of goal in a state title match. “I don’t know ... it’s just our team, we just work together and they just gave me that good opportunity, and I just took it.”
“Hadli’s a phenomenal player,” said Beus, who was an assistant coach on MC’s title-winning team from a year ago. “She does that kind of stuff every day at practice and it’s awesome to see her do it on the field on that stage.”
The Mustangs nearly netted another goal a few minutes before Barrera’s brace, but Martin denied Sofonia on a one-v-one. Sofonia’s opportunity was the result of a nice pass from Hadli Barrera.
Meanwhile, the Warriors (14-5) were threatening in the attack several times in the first half, but the Mustangs still limited them to one shot. A Snow Canyon goal was disallowed on an offside call.
The Mustangs looked sharp in the attack for large spells of the second half and a second insurance goal was tallied in the 53rd minute. Senior midfielder Brynleigh Ritchie worked hard to get a shot off from a few yards outside the 18-yard box. The shot appeared to take a deflection and wrong-footed Martin for a 3-0 MC advantage.
Andie Andrus came close to scoring for Mountain Crest on a few occasions after halftime, including one shot with venom from distance that struck the top of the crossbar.
“I wanted one so bad,” said Andrus, one of 11 Mustang seniors. “Scoring’s an indescribable feeling and it was my last game, championship. I wanted it so bad.”
It’s been a memorable season for Andrus, who played a lot as a sophomore, but missed most of her junior season while recovering from a torn meniscus. No. 32 played very well in both Mustang matches this week.
“It’s pretty indescribable because this team has worked so hard together,” she said. “There’s been no one person to win it for us. It’s a team effort.”
The Region 10 champions had a couple of decent chances to score after halftime, but only put one shot on frame against Mountain Crest keeper Hadley Glenn, who had a phenomenal season in goal and she’s only a sophomore. Glenn had a pretty dangerous Snow Canyon free kick covered late in the half.
This was only the third time this season the Warriors were shut out.
In addition to Egbert, Rhauli Barrera, Andrus and Ritchie, other athletes who played their final game for the Mustangs were Emily Chambers, Alexa Arnell, Madison Burnett, Anna McBride, Ashley Farar, Marli McBride and Kaylinn Gallup. This is the most successful senior class in program history.
“It feels good,” Beus said. “Honestly, i’m just super proud of these girls, man. They step up and they play hard every game.”