After winning its first six games of the season with relative ease, the Grantsville boys soccer team has gotten a harsh reality check since opening Region 13 play – a product of playing in perhaps the toughest league in Class 3A.
The Cowboys lost their third game in a row Tuesday, falling 6-1 at home to a powerful Judge Memorial squad. Grantsville (6-3, 0-3 Region 13) had been outscored 17-3 in its three region defeats, making it tough for the Cowboys to keep from being discouraged.
“This region’s hit us in the face,” Grantsville coach Travis Lowry said. “I think we’re going to have the top four (in the state) come from our region, which makes us better, hopefully.”
Judge (6-3, 3-0) took a little bit of time to figure out how to break down Grantsville’s defense, but the Bulldogs broke through in the 15th minute when Jack Terrill rang a shot off the goalpost and scored on his own rebound for a 1-0 lead. Grantsville scored a goal of its own two minutes later when Judge was whistled for a handball inside the 18-yard box, setting up Dayne Linton’s perfectly placed penalty kick that tied the game.
But Judge kept the heat on the Cowboys, keeping Grantsville goalkeeper Scott May busy. The Bulldogs regained their one-goal lead in the 19th minute on a goal from Joseph Paul off a scramble in front, and Terrill scored his second of the afternoon in the 38th minute after outwaiting May at the right post.
“They’ve got a stud up front, man – No. 9,” Lowry said of Terrill. “He obviously know what he’s doing from the forward position. He caused fits for our guys. We haven’t had someone make runs like that on us yet all year. None of the other teams have had a forward do that much.”
Grantsville seemed to settle down early in the second half, keeping the Bulldogs from getting too many dangerous chances. In fact, the Cowboys had a chance to cut the lead in half with half an hour still remaining, but Wyatt Harris’ shot just missed wide after he received a nice through ball from Linton. Ryan Tripp’s free kick barely missed the top corner two minutes later.
“If we put those away, it changes the game,” Lowry said. “It puts (the Bulldogs) under pressure and they start to panic a little bit, and then we could play with them. The scoreline wasn’t good, but it was one of our best games in region so far.”
While it would have changed the momentum had either of those shots found the net, it wasn’t to be, as Paul scored his second goal of the game in the 55th minute to extend Judge’s lead to 4-1. Camron Lundy got around an aggressive challenge from May to score in the 61st minute, and Terrill completed his hat trick on a breakaway in the 75th minute.
Grantsville has a nonregion home game against North Summit on Friday before playing its next Region 13 contest at Summit Academy on Tuesday.
“They’re getting down,” Lowry said. “It’s hard for them to keep hearing me say, ‘hey, we’re getting better, we’re doing little things better,’ when the scores are that way. We are making improvements, so hopefully the second time we see people, we’ll come at them a little better.”