Tooele may have gotten a slow start, but the Buffalos found gold in the second half.
The Buffs came back from a halftime deficit for the second-straight game, this time down 2-1 at half to Taylorsville, before scoring four goals in the second half to beat the Warriors 4-3 at home Tuesday.
“I think it’s more due to the fact that we’re trying to find that groove,” said THS head coach Ruth Alvarez. “It just took us a little while in the first half, then when figured out a few things, got a few adjustments made, settled down, we already had that groove going.”
Taylorsville struck early.
Just eight minutes after kickoff, Taylorsville senior forward Alyssa Daniels had a breakaway after a bad Tooele giveaway around midfield. Daniels beat Tooele keeper Trista Fackrell to give the Warriors the early 1-0 lead.
Tooele didn’t get many chances in the first half, but senior Kenya Russell came closest with 28 minutes left in the half: Her shot from about 25 yards out on the left side smashed into the post, bounced in front of the goal, but was safely corralled before Tooele could knock the rebound in.
Four minutes later, Taylorsville sophomore Mari Hasebi added to the lead, muscling her way past the Tooele defense on the left side and sending a shot high into the net past Fackrell.
“They were fast and they were just kind of getting breakaways,” Fackrell said. “We were just chasing. We needed to stay back more. We did better in the second half than we did in the first, and (the defense) kept their shape better.”
Tooele made several position adjustments, including one that moved Russell to a defending midfielder position from her comfortable spot on the left wing.
Senior Matalyn Pike cut the Taylorsville lead to one with about eight minutes left in the half, knocking in a Russell rebound to make it 2-1.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, Russell scored again, this time from the right side, to knot things up at 2. Two minutes later, the senior sent a volley shot over the keeper’s head from about 35 yards out and give Tooele a 3-2 lead.
“I always look for the goal first,” Russell said. “I saw the goal first and then I looked for the players. If the goal’s open, I’ll take it.”
Later, tied at three with less than six minutes left in the match, senior Lexis Bollinger received a cross from the right side and took a one-touch shot on goal and Tooele had itself its second lead of the game at 4-3.
No one had more golden chances than Daniels: The Taylorsville striker had two shots on goal saved by Fackrell, one that smashed into the left post and found its way out of bounds, and sailed another high.
Fackrell had three saves in the effort.
“This was one of my better games,” Fackrell said. “I think I got my game back now. I just had to get back into it.”
Taylorsville head coach West Bludworth received a yellow card late in the game after being audibly upset with an official.
Tooele has two more games this week, taking a road trip to face St. Joseph’s High School on Thursday and Bonneville on Saturday.
Bonneville, a team that lost in the quarterfinals of the 5A state tournament last year, beat Stansbury 7-0 in the Lakers first game of the season. St. Joseph’s is 2A and has not yet played this season.
Tooele will return home Tuesday to face Morgan at 3:30 p.m.