The San Juan High School girls soccer team rode the momentum of their first-ever varsity win over South Sevier September 12 to pick up another big region win over Grand County in Moab last Tuesday, September 17.
The game was a back-and-forth battle with both teams trading opportunities to score. San Juan got the biggest chance when they were awarded a penalty kick, but shot the ball a foot over the net on the effort.
Late in the game, the Lady Broncos committed a foul in the box, resulting in a penalty kick for Grand County. The shooter put the ball on net, but San Juan goaltender Emily Palmer made a game-saving stop to send the game to overtime still scoreless.
The teams traded chances in the first overtime period, but when the second overtime started, the Lady Broncos were determined not to come home from Moab without the win.
The girls drove the ball downfield, and leading scorer Emily Jacobsen got a strong shot on net. The Grand goalie made the initial stop, but the rebound found its way to Brittany Grover, who deposited it to the back of the net.
It was Grover’s first goal of the season, and head coach Jay Jones said it’s a prime example of what the coaching staff trains their girls to do in a shooting situation – crash the net.
Palmer’s penalty kick save was instrumental in the win, and it’s nothing new. She has been amazing all season for the Lady Broncos. Coach Jones estimates that she’s averaging 20 saves a game.
Jones said in the wins, the girls began to show an ability to understand position play, encourage one another, and communicate well.
“They have really improved their mental strength,” he said. “I’m really proud how they’re learning and working as a team.”
Following the win last Tuesday, the girls suffered a 3-1 loss to the Richfield Lady Wildcats on the road on Thursday, September 19. Jones said the girls were under the weather, but still hung tough through the first half before the game got away.
This week is challenging for San Juan (2-4, 2-4), with matchups against Region 12-leading Carbon (10-1, 6-0), who beat the Lady Broncos 9-1 on September 5, and second-place Emery (6-6, 5-1), who dropped San Juan 2-0 on September 10.
Coach Jones knows it will be tough, but likes how his girls are improving and believes they could grab an upset if they play solid defense, aren’t afraid to take shots, and play solid positionally – all things the girls have been improving.
The bonus for San Juan is that it’s homecoming, so both games are at home. They hosted the Lady Dinos on Tuesday, September 24, and they’ll face the Lady Spartans this Thursday, September 26 at 4 p.m.