Shortly after scoring her third goal of the game late in the first half of Tuesday’s season-opening girls soccer game against West Jordan, Grantsville junior Whitney Wangsgard came to the sideline for a quick breather.
As she iced her leg, Cowboys assistant coach Tyler Lowry commented to Wangsgard that she wasn’t done yet. Her response? “I’m feeling it. I want more.”
She got more, all right. For the fourth time in her career, she scored at least six goals in a game, propelling GHS to a 6-2 win over the Class 6A Jaguars. According to the Utah High School Activities Association’s records, she is the only girls soccer player to have more than two such games since girls soccer became a UHSAA-sanctioned sport in 1989.
“I just have this drive to score and I just want to help my team out,” said Wangsgard, who now ranks ninth in state history with 91 career goals in just 32 career games. “I can’t really do it without my team, though, so props to them.”
It took just over eight minutes for Wangsgard to put the Cowboys (1-0) on the board. She launched a shot from the right wing from about 35 yards out, lofting it into the top left corner and freezing the West Jordan goalkeeper. Thirteen minutes later, Wangsgard took a through ball from Alyssa Roberts and tucked the ball just inside the left post for a 2-0 advantage.
However, the Jaguars (0-4) quickly cut the Cowboys’ lead in half. West Jordan’s Cassie Moreno got a partial breakaway against Grantsville’s inexperienced back line and beat goalkeeper Adalyn Enslen for her first of two goals on the afternoon.
“There were a few times in the game where they would get through, or our defense would ball-watch and they’d slip in behind,” Grantsville coach Travis Lowry said. “Everyone was kind of first-game jitters, first-game rust, but we’ll take a win against a 6A school and move on.”
Wangsgard’s third goal came on a penalty kick after she took a cleat to the lower leg inside the 18-yard box in the 32nd minute, briefly sending her to the bench. Meanwhile, Enslen had to be at her best at the other end of the pitch, turning away a couple West Jordan shots after a free kick caused a scramble in front of the goal to preserve the Cowboys’ two-goal lead.
Wangsgard then returned to the lineup and converted on a give-and-go with Elizabeth Whitworth in the 39th minute for a 4-1 lead.
“It’s kind of there — it’s just kind of natural for our team,” Wangsgard said of Whitworth’s setup. “Communication always helps, too.”
The Jaguars had another chance to score just before halftime as the Cowboys’ young defense had its struggles. West Jordan’s Sherry Nima was pulled down in the 18-yard box in the 40th minute, giving her a penalty kick. However, Enslen was equal to the task, stopping Nima’s attempt and turning aside a rebound as well just before the whistle blew.
“That was awesome,” Travis Lowry said of his sophomore goalkeeper, who finished with eight saves. “It was amazing. She’s had a good summer, and hopefully, she continues like that all year. We’re going to need it.”
Wangsgard added goals in the 47th and 56th minutes, one of which came off an assist from senior midfielder Laura Sandberg. Moreno scored again for West Jordan in the 69th minute to cap the scoring.
The Cowboys faced Class 6A foe Cyprus in a non-region game Thursday afternoon in Magna. They will travel to Class 6A Kearns on Tuesday for another non-region contest.