The Grantsville girls soccer team came out flat-footed in Tuesday’s non-region road game against Kearns, and it caused the Cowboys to get burned on a scorching late-August afternoon as the Cougars came away with a 4-2 victory.
“The first half, we were really sluggish,” Grantsville coach Travis Lowry said. “On defense, we weren’t watching our gaps and weren’t watching the through (balls). It was just a rough first half.”
The loss was the first of the season for the young Cowboys (2-1), whose backline showed its inexperience at times. Kearns (3-2), Grantsville’s third opponent from Class 6A’s Region 2 this season, took the lead within the first 10 minutes of the match on Estrella Farias’ first goal of the afternoon, mere minutes after Cowboys junior Whitney Wangsgard rang a shot off the goalpost.
Wangsgard eventually got her team on the scoreboard in the 18th minute off a pass from freshman McKenzie Allen, pulling Grantsville even. But the Cougars seemed unfazed, regaining the lead on Surraya Moore’s goal in the 23rd minute and adding to it on Farias’ second goal of the game three minutes later.
“We’ve got to start better,” Lowry said. “We’ve got better teams coming (on the schedule). I hope they learned.”
Kimberly Jaimez extended Kearns’ lead to 4-1 with a goal in the 35th minute. However, the Cougars seemed to take their foot off the gas in the second half, while Grantsville began to play up to the standard it showed in beating West Jordan and Cyprus by a combined score of 15-3 in its first two games. The Cowboys had multiple chances to score, including another shot off the goalpost by Wangsgard on a free kick before they were finally rewarded in the 62nd minute.
Wangsgard broke in to the 18-yard box with a Kearns defender trailing her and goalkeeper Elizabeth Napoles standing between her and a wide-open goal. The defender grabbed Wangsgard’s jersey as she worked her way around Napoles, who also got a piece of the Cowboys’ star striker before pulling her to the ground. Wangsgard was awarded a penalty kick, while Napoles received a yellow card and had to be replaced by backup Rosy Gutierrez.
Wangsgard converted on the PK, pulling the Cowboys back within two with her 14th goal of the season and 99th of her career. Later in the game, she received another penalty-kick opportunity after putting a shot off the left post and getting pulled down on her way to the rebound, but Napoles was able to turn the PK aside in the 77th minute to preserve Kearns’ two-goal lead.
“It was one of those days,” Lowry said. “We hit the post three times. I think we outshot them and they beat us 4-2. We outshot them by more than double. That’s rough. The second half, I appreciated that the intensity picked up.”
Adalyn Enslen made four saves in goal for Grantsville. Napoles made four saves and Gutierrez stopped one shot for the Cougars.
Grantsville traveled to Ogden on Thursday to face St. Joseph in a non-region match. With one more goal, Wangsgard can become just the eighth girls soccer player in Utah history with 100 career goals. She would be the second 100-goal scorer from Tooele County, joining Stansbury’s Michaela Didericksen, who scored 111 times from 2012-15 and ranks fourth all-time in state history.
The state record is held by Shauna Rohbock, who scored 131 times for Mountain View from 1991-94.