The rivalry between Tooele and Stansbury tends to bring out the best in both teams, and Tuesday night’s Region 10 girls soccer match at Tooele High’s Buffalo Stadium was no exception.
For the fourth time in the past nine meetings, 80 minutes of soccer wasn’t enough to decide a winner, sending the game to extra time. It turned out that 90 minutes almost wasn’t enough, but Stansbury’s Samantha Coleman scored the golden goal as time expired in the first extra-time period to lift the visiting Stallions to a narrow 2-1 victory over the Buffaloes.
“This is a huge win for us,” Coleman said. “Tooele played a really, really good game. Both teams played really well and I’m proud of both teams. Everyone came out and played their hardest.”
It marked the seventh time in the past 11 meetings between the Tooele County foes that the match was decided by one goal or less, including a 1-1 double-overtime tie in their second meeting last season. Double overtime looked like a distinct possibility as time wound down in the first golden-goal period, as Coleman battled Tooele’s Emma Stuart down the right wing before lobbing a shot over Tooele goalkeeper Britain Stone’s outstretched hands. The ball trickled over the goal line with the scoreboard clock displaying :00.0, allowing Stansbury (5-4, 3-2 Region 10) to escape with the victory.
“I’m really proud of them for just never giving up,” Stansbury coach Spencer Call said. “It was just attack, attack. We needed this win. It’s a big, big win.”
However, the game wouldn’t have reached overtime if not for a stellar effort from the Buffaloes (2-7, 0-5) in the second half of regulation. Trailing 1-0 in the 60th minute, play came to a halt when a Tooele player went down with an injury. The Buffs regained possession on an uncontested drop ball to restart play, and Cecily Wolfe took the opportunity to sen the ball off an unsuspecting Stansbury defender and past Stallions goalkeeper Ainsley Thurber for the game-tying goal.
From there, the Buffs continued to pressure the Stallions over the next 10-15 minutes, but couldn’t manage to take the lead.
“We’ve performed really well in close games in the second half this year,” Tooele coach Stephen Duggan said. “It was a clever little free kick by Cecily — you’ve got to give her a lot kudos for that. Then, for the next 15 minutes, man, we just camped in that 18-yard box. It just wouldn’t bounce right for us.”
Before Wolfe’s tying goal, the Stallions had their chances, as well. Annie Ploehn scored the match’s first goal on a rebound from a shot by Bailey Thomas in the 31st minute, and had another would-be goal called back on a foul just four minutes later. Six minutes into the second half, Reagen Didericksen had a wide-open shot from the left wing, but hit the goalpost to Stone’s right. Megan Landward, Ploehn and Coleman all had shots late in the second half and early in extra time that just missed the target.
“The ball was knocked around so many times in the 18(-yard box),” Coleman said. “I just knew that we had to get one in. It was so frustrating. We had so many chances, but it just didn’t happen.”
Call credited his players for keeping their composure after missing on several golden scoring opportunities, as well as giving up the own goal that tied the match.
“The girls — they just battled back,” he said. “They were incredible. I’m just really proud of their effort. Once that own goal went in, we were kind of on our heels for 10 minutes, but the girls just battled back. They fought and they created chance after chance after chance.”
It was a difficult way to lose for Tooele, which has dropped six matches in a row overall. For the second time in three games, the Buffs lost after playing to a draw over the first 80 minutes, including a loss in penalty kicks to Juan Diego. However, Duggan was pleased with the effort from his squad, particularly given the Buffs’ youth.
“It’s harsh,” Duggan said. “It’s really unfortunate. The girls aren’t disheartened, but they’re down. They’re not far off. They just need a little bit of luck, maybe. There’s no reason we can’t be competitive in every single game we play.”
Tooele traveled to Ben Lomond and Stansbury played host to Juan Diego on Thursday afternoon after press time to wrap up the first half of the Region 10 season. Stansbury will face Ogden on the road Monday afternoon, and Tooele will play host to Cedar Valley that evening.