The Stansbury girls soccer team achieved things few people expected coming into the 2019 season, and while the Stallions’ run won’t end in a Class 4A state championship, they made quite an impression on their way out.
On a blustery Saturday afternoon at the Spence Eccles Ogden Community Sports Complex, the Stallions’ season ended with a 1-0 loss to No. 1 Ogden in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state tournament. However, the one-goal margin represented a massive improvement for No. 8 Stansbury (9-6-3), which had lost two previous meetings with the Tigers (16-2) by a combined score of 9-1.
“The team played good,” Stansbury coach Spencer Call said. “We had a good game plan. I think we executed it really well, and the girls gave me everything they had.”
The Stallions’ defense was a major factor in slowing down the Tigers’ high-powered offense. Ogden came into Saturday’s match having scored 86 goals in 17 games — an average of 5.06 per game. The Stallions were just the third team to limit the Tigers to fewer than three goals in a match this season, a credit to center backs Bethany Johansen and Rylie Klenk, as well as goalkeeper Ainsley Thurber.
“Ainsley played an amazing game,” Call said.
The Tigers controlled possession for the majority of the game, but got few dangerous opportunities as the Stallions didn’t give them much room to operate. However, the Tigers were able to convert on junior Abby Beus’ shot from the top of the 18-yard box in the 15th minute, as the ball slipped past Thurber and just over the goal line.
After that, Thurber kept the Tigers from extending their lead, though Ogden’s defense didn’t give Stansbury’s offense many opportunities to tie things up. Gracey Hinton had the Stallions’ best chance in the first half off a free kick from Danica Silvestri in the 26th minute, but couldn’t get much on her shot. In the 71st minute, Silvestri had another free kick from near midfield, but the ball rolled directly toward Ogden goalkeeper Allison Collinwood.
“We pushed it those last 20 minutes,” Call said. “Ogden’s just so good. I had to play a defensive strategy and hope for a good counter. We had that one chance with Danica at the end and it just didn’t do it. Everyone played good today — we just couldn’t quite get it in the back of the net. I’m kind of second-guessing myself if I should have played a little more of an offensive strategy.”
As time expired, Call expressed his gratitude toward the team’s seven seniors: Hinton, Klenk, Johansen, Chloee Corbett, Grace Woolsey, Lucy Jones and Merissa Redington. This year’s team posted Stansbury’s first winning record since 2016, when the current seniors were freshmen. They also advanced to the state tournament for the first time since that 2016 squad, which was also the last time SHS reached the quarterfinals.
“All season long, they did everything I asked of them from beginning to end,” Call said. “These seven seniors — I’m just so proud of them, They’re an amazing bunch. From Day One to playing here, it’s amazing. To get to this point — to lose 5-0 here two months ago, and then to be competitive and have a chance. They’ve come a long way since we started practicing back in July.
“(The seniors) laid the foundation. It wasn’t us coaches. It was those seven seniors.”
Ogden advanced to Thursday’s Class 4A semifinals, which will take place at Jordan High School. The Tigers will face Green Canyon in the first semifinal, while the second game will feature Ridgeline and Desert Hills. The state championship game is Friday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.