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Skyridge girls soccer earns program’s first semifinal berth

By Darnell Dickson - | Oct 14, 2021
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Skyridge junior Megan Hanson (7) races to join her teammates to celebrate a 1-0 Class 6A girls soccer quarterfinal victory against Pleasant Grove on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Pleasant Grove's Grace Abegg (right) consoles teammate Abigail Adams after the Vikings lost a 1-0 decision to Skyridge in a Class 6A girls soccer quarterfinal on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Skyridge goalkeeper Emalynn Levingston goes to the ground to stop a shot during a Class 6A girls soccer quarterfinal against Pleasant Grove on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Skyridge senior Lauren Bradshaw kicks the ball in a Class 6A girls soccer state quarterfinal game against Pleasant Grove on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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The Skyridge girls soccer team poses for a photo after beating Pleasant Grove 1-0 in a Class 6A quarterfinal match on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Skyridge grls soccer coach Toby Peterson grimaces while watching play during a Class 6A girls soccer state quarterfinal game against Pleasant Grove on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Skyridge senior Emily Auman (8) dribbles the ball with Pleasant Grove's Grace Abegg in pursuit during a Class 6A girls soccer state quarterfinal game against Pleasant Grove on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Pleasant Grove's Lucy Sorensen steps forward to kick the ball during a Class 6A girls soccer state quarterfinal game against Pleasant Grove on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Pleasant Grove's Lexi Kirk (right) kicks the ball as Skyridge freshman Kalena Bellini defends during a Class 6A girls soccer quarterfinal on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
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Skyridge sophomore Amanda Caswell waves to the crowd while being introduced before a Class 6A girls soccer state quarterfinal game against Pleasant Grove on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)

Thursday’s result made all the early morning workouts and sacrifice worth it for the Skyridge girls soccer team.

The Falcons locked up Pleasant Grove for the third time this season, scoring a 1-0 victory in a Class 6A quarterfinal match. Amanda Caswell’s second half goal held up as Skyridge picked up the school’s first-ever girls soccer semifinal berth.

“We conditioned them harder than any Skyridge team has ever been conditioned,” first-year head coach Toby Peterson said. “We knew that was going to pay off in the end. We’ve had very few injuries this year and I’d attribute that to the conditioning.”

Senior defender Hadlie Bullock remembers every one of those workout sessions.

“Our conditioning coach, Cyd Roberts, just runs us and runs us,” Bullock said. “We do sprints for at least 30 minutes to an hour at practice and we do all kinds of drills. I think it really helped us.”

On a cold, windy day in Pleasant Grove, the Falcons needed every bit of that conditioning to hold off the Vikings. Skyridge outscored PG 7-0 in the two Region 4 meetings this season but Thursday’s conditions didn’t produce a lot of opportunities for either team score.

“We found out early against Pleasant Grove that they like to go up through the middle,” Peterson said. “So we just stacked them up. We played a double six (defense), which has really proven to be beneficial for us.”

Most of the game was played in the midfield and when one of the teams took the ball into the scoring third, defense limited the touches and cleared the ball away. The first half ended scoreless and much of the second half went the same way.

Pleasant Grove’s Indie Winterton made herself dangerous in the second half but the Skyridge defense and goalkeeper Emalynn Levingston turned several opportunities away. The Falcons finally put together a series of strong possessions and scored in the 52nd minute when Caswell ended up with the ball inside the scoring area. Her hard shot deflected off a PG defender and into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

Winterton put the ball in a dangerous position after a indirect kick but the ball was cleared away in the 60th minute. Pleasant Grove’s best opportunity came in the 69th minute when Jordan Farrer launched a high shot from 20 yards that Levingston managed to punch over the crossbar.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Peterson said. “A good portion of our girls have played together for years and years. We asked the girls from the beginning not to get involved in any drama. We wanted to build each other up. Because if we’re working, we’re compatible. If we’re friends, we’re going to go a lot further and they bought into that idea. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do this year.”

Skyridge (12-5-0) was looking forward to another shot at No. 1 seed Lone Peak after losing twice to the Knights during the regular season. But Syracuse knocked off Lone Peak 2-1 in another quarterfinal matchup and so the Falcons will face the Titans (13-6-0) next Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the semifinals at Juan Diego High School.

“This team, everyone has certain bonds,” Bullock said. “There are no cliques and we all have happiness and joy together. Everyone really wants to be at practice every day. Making the semifinals, it means our team has come a long way. We have confidence and that helps us play better. This just feels so good.”

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