Stansbury girls soccer coach Jeremy Alverson would take a stifling defensive performance over an outburst of offense any day of the week.
However, the Stallions’ coach certainly wasn’t complaining after he got dominant efforts on both ends of the field in his team’s season opener, as Stansbury demolished Taylorsville 8-0 on a hot Wednesday afternoon in the Salt Lake Valley.
“I’m more of a defensive guy,” Alverson said. “We’ve got to keep the ball out of the net, and you’re never going to lose a game if you don’t get scored on. I think we have the offensive firepower, but I’m really happy with my defenders today.”
Given the final score, it surprisingly took the Stallions (1-0) a little time to get things going. They were a bit sluggish in the first few minutes as they tried to find their way in the opening moments of the season, but once they hit their stride, the onslaught was on, as they scored four times in a span of 13 minutes.
Senior McCall Littlefield scored Stansbury’s first goal, converting on a free kick from teammate Maddy Graber in the 19th minute. Fellow senior Aubree Cheney added her first goal of the season in the 22nd minute, and sophomore Reagan Didericksen made it 3-0 in the 27th minute. Maeva Barton’s goal in the 32nd minute gave Stansbury a huge advantage at halftime.
Graber’s excellence as a distributor continued in the second half, as she found fellow senior Payton Raban for a goal in the 55th minute. Littlefield added her second tally of the game in the 58th minute. Mackenzie Landward, who had missed several golden opportunities to score earlier in the game, finally broke through in the 71st minute, and Chloee Corbett’s header in the 78th minute brought the game to an end because of the mercy rule.
“We had four assists from our center attacking midfielder, Maddy Graber,” Alverson said. “She was just solid. She finds that ball, she looks up, she’s played with these girls for quite some time and she knows where to send that ball. Her play in the middle was really vital to those girls getting those opportunities.”
Alverson was also pleased with the effort his team put forth on defense in front of goalkeepers Gracey Hinton and Ainsley Thurber, who combined for the shutout. Taylorsville (0-1) didn’t have many dangerous opportunities and struggled to possess the ball against a stout Stansbury back line. He was particularly pleased with the efforts of juniors Bethany Johansen and Grace Woolsey.
“My defense on the back (line) just played solid,” Alverson said. “(It’s) kind of a new unit as far as playing together with each other on the varsity level, and they communicated well.”
Stansbury faced Bear River on Thursday in a home game that was not complete at press time. The Stallions will travel to Roy on Tuesday for another non-region contest, with their final preseason game set for next Thursday at Ridgeline.