Grizzlies, Riverhawks to meet in state semifinal
By Garrett Faylor sports writer
The Logan girls soccer team started Saturdayâs quarterfinal match against Stansbury with a bang.
They ended with a whimper, but the four-goal lead they built in the first half held for a 5-3 win and a trip to the 3A state semifinals.
âI made a guarantee, and Iâm glad it worked out that way, but I told the girls that if we were to score in the first 10 minutes, weâd win the game,â Logan head coach Sven Rasmussen said. âIâm glad that I have players that battle and trust me and believe, and thatâs kind of what happened today.â
Kaycee Larsen wreaked havoc early by getting into space on the wing. Zoe Clark sent a ball ahead that Larsen tracked down and put far post for the gameâs first score.
Two minutes later, the same happened, but this time Larsen sent the ball to the middle of the box where Shannon Jensen was there to put it away.
âMost games, we usually sit back a little bit and kind of let the flow develop and then make changes and adapt, but today we decided to just get after it, so I think it was a mindset shift that girls were definitely excited, instead of playing safe at first, just put their foot on the gas and go,â Rasmussen said.
Ten minutes later Whitney Lopez earned a penalty kick after being tackled in the box. Her older sister Karly Lopez was told to take it.
âThey were saying for me to shoot it, but I wanted Whitney to shoot it because Iâm too nervous to take PKs, but no one else wanted to step up, so I stepped up and took it,â Lopez said.
Lopez froze the goalkeeper and put the ball in the top right corner for a 3-0 lead.
After a bit of a lull in the offense, Lopez struck again with a minute left in the half.
Things went the other direction in the second half as Maddy Graber scored for the Stallions just a minute out of halftime.
Mackenzie Landward scored one and then another while Logan remained quiet. Landwardâs second goal came with just three minutes left in the game to push what looked like an early rout into a question mark.
âI think we just got angry for getting so many calls, and we just kind of played angry,â Lopez said. âI think some of us were scared to go in, scared that they were going to make a call, or even on offsides too, they were scared to just make that run.â
Whistles and warnings were doled out with more force than the lazy T-shirt canon that Logan fired off during the half â Whitney Lopez got a stern finger pointed at her more than once. It also didnât help the Grizzlies that they lost Clark for the second half, after she took a booted ball to the face with a boom that echoed off the school buildings in the background.
Clark was cleared to play and said she felt no headache or effects after the hit, but that she sat as a precaution.
âItâs a little frustrating when you feel the other teamâs getting chippy and youâre not getting the calls that you think you should,â Rasmussen said. âAt the end of the day, Iâm not one of those coaches that blames the refs. Itâs whatever. Perfect games for both refs and players are hard to have. I thought they did a decent job. I thought (the shift in momentum) was more a credit to Stansbury. Their coach changed things tactically in the second half.â
Senior Nicole Nye came to the rescue in the final minute of the game to shut down Stansburyâs charge. Nye received a ball from Whitney Lopez at the 35-yard line and sent a missile into goal that bounced off the upper right post and into the goal to seal the win.
âWe came out of the corner, and we built it up and then Whit just found me, and I just hit it in, but I wouldnât have even gotten the chance if we didnât have Whit and (Marissa Dickson) and (Kennedy Michel) up there, all working hard, so that goal was all from their hard work,â Nye said. âIt was my favorite goal because this is the last time Iâm playing on this field, so itâs nice.â
Logan advances to meet newly anointed rival Ridgeline in the state semifinals Friday at Jordan High at 3:45 p.m. The Riverhawks entered the 3A playoffs as the No. 4 seed and knocked off No. 1 Desert Hills and No. 3 Tooele â both shutouts.