The Tooele girls soccer team had its fair share of time with the ball in Summit Academy’s end of the field Tuesday afternoon, but for all of that possession time, the Buffaloes couldn’t put the finishing touch on the Bears.
The result was a 1-0 loss for Tooele after Summit Academy’s Cheyenne Van Dinter took advantage of a breakdown by the Buffs in front of their own goal in the 21st minute, dropping THS to 0-2-1 on the season.
“It’s kind of a frustrating performance,” Tooele coach Stephen Duggan said. “With the possession that we had and the amount of balls we had in the final third of the field, we should have created more. We really, really should have, and that’s the frustrating part about it.”
Tooele was guilty of being a bit hesitant to shoot when opportunities arose. Rather than taking the shot when it presented itself, the Buffs would take extra touches to try to get closer, allowing the Bears to get their defense reset.
“From the back through the middle, our passing wasn’t bad, but the final ball let us down too many times,” Duggan said. “We had plenty of pace up top, but we didn’t exploit it and we didn’t use our players to the best of their ability.”
Another frustration for the Buffs was their difficulty in getting the ball to their key scoring threats in space. Rather that kicking the ball high and over the Summit Academy defenders’ heads or to the outside of the field, the Buffs’ attempts were low line drives up the middle that were knocked away and cleared by the Bears.
“We tried forcing it down their throats every time,” Duggan said. “I don’t know how many times we played it into their legs … just driving it low, trying to force it, trying to put a square peg in a round hole with a sledgehammer. The space was there to play it into — they were leaving the space in behind — and we just didn’t exploit it.”
Despite having not picked up a win in the first three games of the preseason, Duggan remained optimistic going into Thursday’s preseason finale against Kearns. He noted that the Buffaloes have shown flashes of what they could become — it’s just a matter of doing it for a full 80-minute game.
“If you take parts of all three games, you have a good performance,” Duggan said. “They’ve done everything they’re supposed to do in patches, but they just haven’t knitted it all together. They still have the capability and the ability to put all those pieces together. You’d be more worried if the pieces weren’t there.”
Following Thursday’s road game, which was not complete at press time, the Buffs will begin their trip through the Region 11 gauntlet. Their first four region games — Monday at home against Bonneville, Wednesday at Juan Diego, Aug. 27 at home against Ogden and Aug. 29 at Park City — are all against squads that advanced to the Class 4A state tournament a season ago.