The Stansbury boys soccer team’s hopes for a fourth consecutive region title took a hit Wednesday afternoon, as the Stallions played first-place Park City to a 2-2 draw.
The Stallions (5-2-5, 4-1-1 Region 10), who lost 3-2 at Park City in the teams’ first meeting March 17, needed a win to pull even with the Miners (7-3-1, 5-0-1) in the region standings with two games remaining in the regular season. Now, Stansbury must win its final two games against Union and Grantsville and hope Park City loses at least one of its final two to earn a share of the title.
“That’s the way soccer is,” Stansbury coach Jacob Jones said. “We were much faster to the ball than we were the first time we played Park City. I felt like we controlled the midfield a lot better and moved the ball quite a bit quicker out of trouble. I thought we had some great opportunities, and that’s what you’re looking for. You hope you put in more opportunities than they do, and it just didn’t work out that way.”
Stansbury rallied from a 1-0 deficit in Wednesday’s game, as well as the loss of sophomore midfielder Brandon Bustillos to a red card. The Stallions responded to the early deficit with goals by sophomore Mitchell Holdstock and junior Mason Steel before halftime, only to have the Miners score the equalizer in the second half.
That bounce-back ability has started to shine through for the Stallions in recent games, and their senior leaders are taking note.
“I’ve seen that even after losing a game, we can come back,” Stansbury senior goalkeeper Chad Coleman said. “After that first goal against us, we responded pretty quickly and scored two goals against them. I thought we had a pretty good effort against [Park City]. We’ve been improving.”
The Stallions had chances to win the game in regulation and in extra time, but were unable to convert. However, Jones reminded his team that the Stansbury softball team, which won three consecutive Class 3A state titles from 2013-15, didn’t always win the region title, either.
He feels his team is capable of reaching its goal of getting past the state quarterfinals for the first time in program history with or without the Region 10 crown.
“This one will hurt, because they’ve had the region championship for three years and now they’re behind the eight-ball — they’ve got to have Park City lose for us to have a chance,” Jones said. “They’ve got to go recover and take care of business against Grantsville on Friday.
“They would love to accomplish something that the other [soccer] teams haven’t been able to accomplish — getting to the semifinals, the state finals or even the state championship. The goals are to accomplish new things and to continue to move forward with the program. They’ve gone through a lot this year, and I feel like they’re coming along really well.”