Grantsville junior Whitney Wangsgard soaked up the sunlight following Tuesday’s 9-1 Region 13 victory over Providence Hall, but the soccer star wasn’t basking in the glory of breaking Utah’s all-time record for goals after scoring the 132nd of her career.
She was trying to warm up after her teammates doused her with the ice-cold contents of a water jug, celebrating a record that will only continue to grow over the next year-plus.
“It feels unbelievable,” Wangsgard said through chattering teeth. “I honestly just can’t believe it. I haven’t processed it yet. It’s like, wow — I just did that. Thanks to all my teammates. I wouldn’t have any (goals) without them.”
Wangsgard came into Tuesday’s contest in Herriman locked in a three-way tie with Alta’s Kealia Ohai (2006-09) and Lehi’s Amber Strode (1991-94) for second place on the all-time goal-scoring list, four behind Mountain View’s Shauna Rohbock (1991-94).
“It’s very special,” Grantsville coach Travis Lowry said. “We work hard with what comes out, and we have great kids and good players. It’s pretty fun to have a total difference-maker — someone who stands out above. Pretty much every team we play, she would be the best player. It’s pretty fun to have her at this small school.”
As she has so many times this season, she went right to work against Providence Hall’s defense, ripping her first shot just over the net before scoring her first goal of the game — and 43rd of the season — in the third minute with a low shot from 25 yards out. Four minutes later, she scored on a breakaway, and she added another in the 15th minute as Grantsville (9-3, 4-2 Region 13) ran away with the game.
Wangsgard, who is normally fairly reserved in her goal celebrations, couldn’t hold her emotions back as she neared the record. In the 30th minute, she nearly tied the record with a shot that rolled just wide of the post as she let out a scream and somersaulted to the ground. Goal No. 131 — the record-tying tally — came on a partial breakaway in the 33rd minute, and gave the Cowboys a 6-0 lead.
Just before halftime, Wangsgard made history by scoring on a breakaway — a familiar sight for Grantsville soccer fans over her three-year career. She let out another scream as her teammates cheered, and she was greeted with congratulatory hugs when she reached the Cowboys’ sideline.
“I was a little nervous coming in because I’m not really feeling like myself right now,” said Wangsgard, who came into the game nursing a knee injury she suffered five days earlier against Judge Memorial. “After that first one, I was like, ‘all right, this is good. I can do this.’
“I wasn’t really stressed about the record. It was something I wanted to achieve, but now I can really just focus on doing all I can for the team and getting us to where we need to be.”
Lowry was thrilled to see Wangsgard reach the record the way she did.
“That will always be next to her name,” Lowry said. “She’s dedicated to her team and it shows, and it’s pretty fun to have this happen for her.”
Wangsgard now has a career-high 47 goals this season, which ties her for second all-time in a single season with Brighton’s Joanna Barney (1990) and Bountiful’s Caroline Putz (1997). Judge Memorial’s Toni Ouellette scored 68 goals in 1989.
Wangsgard scored 44 goals as a freshman, which ranks fifth all-time, and 41 as a sophomore, which is eighth all-time.
Most importantly for the Cowboys, they came away with the victory. Jenna Ussing, Laura Sandberg, Autumn Barton and McKenzie Allen also scored in the contest. August Cowan and Alyssa Roberts each had two assists and Adalyn Enslen, Erin Hurst, Elizabeth Whitworth and Wangsgard each had one. Every player on Grantsville’s roster got into the game.
“The team played really well,” Lowry said. “I’m proud of them.”
Grantsville played host to Morgan in a Region 13 game that was not complete at press time Thursday afternoon. The Cowboys will be in Kamas on Tuesday to face South Summit.