Stansbury’s boys soccer team took people by surprise when it beat Bonneville 2-1 in the Region 11 opener on March 13, coming within a penalty kick of shutting out the league’s highest-scoring team on the road.
On Monday at Stallion Stadium, SHS proved that performance was no fluke. The Stallions played visiting Bonneville to a scoreless draw, maintaining a six-point lead over the Lakers, Juan Diego and Ogden for first place in Region 11 in the early part of the season.
“They stayed patient and ran their guts out,” Stansbury coach Jacob Jones said. “They stood them up, they poked the ball away and they made it really tough for them to get a shot on goal. It was a very, very good effort defensively.”
Stansbury (5-3-1, 3-0-1 Region 11) had several opportunities to score in the contest, including point-blank chances late in regulation and in extra time that would have won the game for the Stallions. Mitchell Holdstock was stopped on a partial breakaway in the 71st minute, while Gabe Golden’s open shot off a crossing pass from Dante Silvestri rang off the crossbar three minutes into extra time. Later in overtime, Holdstock had a shot just miss the right post and another deflected over the crossbar by Bonneville goalkeeper Matt Braden.
“We had five breakaways and we’ve got to score on them,” Jones said. “We’ve talked about it. (Bonneville) played well defensively and the keeper did a great job. He made himself big, and that’s what they try to do. If our guys aren’t able to find the hole, then he’s done his job.”
Silvestri had a chance to score just before halftime, but he hit the crossbar after a crossing pass from Golden in stoppage time. Jaylon Davis also had some dangerous chances for the Stallions, but Braden and the Lakers’ defense managed to keep the ball out of the net.
On the other end, Stansbury goalkeeper Ethan Toland and the Stallions’ defense were just as good. The Lakers (2-3-2, 1-2-1) came into Monday’s contest averaging more than three goals per game, but in two games against the Stallions totaling 180 minutes, they scored just one.
Stansbury is Region 11’s top defensive team, allowing just three goals in four region matches and 11 goals in nine matches overall. Six of those goals have come on penalty kicks.
“They’re playing as a team,” Jones said. “They’re sticking together and toughing out the tough wins and they’re making it hard on other teams to score. We obviously don’t want to keep giving away PKs, but we don’t want to give anything easy away, either.”
Jones credited his team’s toughness for the Stallions’ success through the first four region games, a stretch that has them in prime position to return to the Class 4A state tournament after missing the postseason in 2018.
“I wouldn’t change their toughness for anything,” he said. “I want them to play tough, and they’re doing a really good job of that.
“As long as we keep getting points, we’ll be sitting good,” he added. “If somebody had told me we’d have 10 points in four games, I’d take it.”
The Stallions will face county rival Tooele on Friday at Stallion Stadium in the first of two meetings with the Buffaloes this season.