Grizzlies, Riverhawks advance in 3A girls soccer playoffs
By Jason Turner sports writer 12 hrs ago (0)
It was getting a bit nerve-racking for the defending 3A champions, but they showed what they were made of with their season hanging in the balance.
Defender Zhu Parker volleyed in a Kennedy Michel corner kick in the 75th minute, Zoe Clark buried a penalty kick two minutes later, and Logan blanked Hurricane 2-0 in the opening round of the 3A Girls Soccer Championships on Wednesday afternoon at Crimson Field.
âIt was a huge relief,â Logan head coach Sven Rasmussen said. âI think we played probably the best (No.) 4 seed in 3A right now. I mean, they beat Desert Hills 3-2 and I think they tied Snow Canyon. I mean, they had a rough end of the season, but they definitely had a game plan and it was working. It took us (a while) to figure it out, but we maintained a lot of possession, we kept our heads up, we put a lot of pressure on them and eventually stuff will fall our way if we do all those things well.â
Indeed, the Grizzlies (12-3-1) controlled most of the match as the Tigers (8-8-1) were content to defend in numbers and look for an occasional counter attack. Logan limited Hurricane to four shots, only two on frame, and all of them were from well outside the 18-yard box.
âThey definitely knew how to park the bus and put numbers back in their defense, but I think we figured it out that we can’t just send the through ball and that we have to combine,â Loganâs Mikaela Arnold said. âAnd we did that today.â
The Grizzlies definitely had some bouts of crisp possession, but struggled to create opportunities deep in the attacking third. That all changed when Michel lofted a corner kick to the far post and Parker, positioned inside the 6-yard box, finished top shelf.
âAll season long, Kennedy’s been giving me the most beautiful balls, so I’m just glad I can finally get one in for her,â said Parker, who scored in the 3A semifinals a year ago. ââ¦ It felt great.â
Clark gave the Region 11 champs some breathing room when she calmly slotted a right-footed PK to the goalkeeperâs left. The Grizzlies were awarded the penalty when Clark was fouled in the left corner of the box.
Clark almost scored in the first half on a nice pass from Megan Hollingsworth, but cracked her shot about a foot wide of the near post.
Logan nearly netted a trio of goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Not even 25 seconds had been played when Whitney Lopez ripped a right-footed offering into the side netting.
Twice in the next 10 minutes Michel found the crossbar on a shot from outside the 18, the second one a beautiful one-time effort from the top of the box.
âThat was a fantastic response,â Rasmussen said of his sideâs strong start to the second half. âThat’s exactly what I know the girls are capable of and that I expect. Man, when our girls decide to get after it, we are fantastic, I can’t say enough. Even those players that came off (the bench) and contributed just a little bit, we needed that contribution. There are no small roles on our soccer team.â
Rasmussen moved center back Kaycee Larsen to forward to begin the second half and essentially played with three defenders for most of the stanza. Itâs fair to say the Grizzliesâ attack-minded approach paid off.
Samantha Aguilar and Abby Craig spilt time in goal for the Grizzliesâ sixth shutout of the season.
Logan will now host Region 10 runner-up Stansbury in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Stallions thumped Juab 8-0 to advance.