Following Thursday’s upset victory against the Ben Lomond Scots, the Stansbury Stallions set their sights on the Bear River Bears, hoping to continue their winning ways and possibly earn a home playoff game on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
The Bears, however, come into Tuesday’s matchup at Stansbury High School having given up the fewest goals in region play. The Bears have given up just three goals to Region 11 opponents and just 10 goals the entire season — an average of 0.8 goals per game.
“Bear River is a little different in that they don’t really give up any goals,” said SHS head coach Jeremy Alverson. “Ben Lomond just tried to outscore [us], and we were able to figure that out. We like playing at home; we haven’t lost here yet. [The SHS players] are looking forward to getting Bear River here.”
The two teams last faced each other Sept. 19 in Garland, and the Bears defeated the Stallions 4-0, which was just one of Bear River’s seven shutouts on the season.
“Hopefully we can put a couple of goals up on them and defend well,” Alverson said. “We’ve watched some film on them, and we’ve played them once, so we know what they’re looking to do. We obviously want to keep it as low scoring as possible for them because I don’t see us getting more than two or three goals. We need to keep them to zero or one.”
Alverson said he wants to play a little more defensively to start the game, mimicking the first half of the Sept. 19 game where the two teams went into halftime tied 0-0. Unfortunately, he said, there was a nine-minute span in the second half of that game where the Bears broke it open and scored three goals.
“We learned from Ben Lomond what it takes to beat a quality team,” Alverson said. “Hopefully we’ll have that same effort [against Bear River].”
Tuesday’s game is also Stansbury’s senior day, and the team’s two seniors, Cierra Golden and Bret Wilkinson, seem poised and ready to get the win and keep chasing a home playoff game.
“I think we deserve to win,” Wilkinson said. “We’ve been working for it. It’ll definitely take confidence. We’re going to have to come out strong and play our best.”
Golden said this season has been enjoyable.
“It’s been really fun,” she said. “It’s been a lot better winning games.”
The two of them also reflected on their careers at Stansbury and helping to build the program. Both seniors have played soccer at SHS for all four years.
“It’s meant a lot,” Golden said of her time spent playing soccer for the Stallions. “Soccer is all I do. Just to come out and play, it’s fun.”
Wilkinson echoed Golden’s comments about soccer being No. 1.
“Soccer is my only sport that I play,” Wilkinson said. “It’s important to take it seriously.”
And taking soccer seriously is exactly what they’ve done, and the win against Ben Lomond was the fruit of that labor. The 4-2 victory Thursday put the Stallions on a three-game winning streak, and it also extended their record to 9-3 overall — a step up from their 7-10 overall record and fifth-place finish in 2012.
The Stallions battle the Bears Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., and they then face Tooele on Thursday.