Stansbury celebrated Friday night after defeating top-rated Provo in a shootout 5-4 at Provo, but a shootout against Lehi in the semifinals on Monday morning at Juan Diego was not as sweet.
The Stallions and Pioneers were tied 1-1 after two overtimes, but the Pioneers advanced to Wednesday’s state championship game winning the shootout 3-1.
Lehi’s Gavin Fenn scored 10 minutes into the game and Stansbury’s Archer Loertscher evened the score at 1-1 with 4 minutes until intermission.
“We had a couple chances to score in both games, but the ball didn’t roll our way. Today’s (Monday) game was very hard fought. The boys left everything on the field. Very proud of them and how they played,” said Stansbury coach Jacob Jones.
Friday’s game at Provo ended in a 0-0 tie after two overtimes. In the shootout Provo’s keeper was unable to stop any of the Stallions’ five shots. Wyatt Barry, Abram Magleby, Archer Loertscher, Conner Shields and Jace Toland all connected for the Stallions and keeper Devun Collins managed to save one of Provo’s shots.
“When it comes down to a shootout it’s the hardest thing a keeper can face. It felt awesome to make at least one save,” Collins said.
Stansbury has a knack of defeating top ranked soccer teams in recent seasons. This year they beat Provo, last season they defeated Juan Diego and the previous year the Stallions downed Desert Hills.
“I think our team gets underestimated as to how good we actually are,” Collins said.
Stansbury entered the tourney as the ninth seed, but ended up in the Final 4. They came close to reaching a state championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium for two consecutive seasons. The Stallions lost 2-1 to Ridgeline last season in the 4A state championship game.
Stansbury used tremendous defense to down the Bulldogs on their home pitch.
“Our players did exactly what we wanted them to do. We wanted to shut down their No. 1 scorer and they did exactly that. They’ve been doing that since they were freshmen,” Jones said about his team’s ability to stop top scorers. “These guys are amazing. Dev came up with three or four massive saves.”
Stansbury’s team this year featured 11 seniors and most of them have been on the team since they were freshmen.
“It is always hard to replace the leadership and experience of a group like this. But the boys behind them haven’t been stagnant and know what it takes to get to where we have been the last two years,” the coach said. “Now it is up to them to put the individual work in and get stronger, faster and better with the ball. We are excited for the culture we have here at Stansbury and for what the future holds. Soccer is all about the team. We love these boys.”
Stansbury High soccer continues to thrive.
“The biggest factor is the kids. They have been so welcoming of others. They are not perfect but support each other through the ups and downs. That is a great credit to their club coaches and parents. We have good people here in Stansbury and it translates to a good atmosphere on and off the field,” Jones said.
The coach said his players this year enjoyed a close bond, and their cohesiveness was impressive.
“They were a very strong group on and off the field. Common goal and attitude. They supported each other in all the different ways a team can. Wonderful, wonderful group of guys. The seniors will be missed,” the coach said.