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Skyridge girls soccer falls to Riverton in 6A finals

By Jared Lloyd - | Oct 22, 2021
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Skyridge senior Olivia Driggs (15) knocks the ball down during the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge head coach Toby Peterson consoles senior defender Hadlie Bullock after the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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The Skyridge girls soccer team poses for a photo with the runner-up trophy after the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge players celebrate after scoring a goal during the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge senior forward Olivia Barlow (right) battles for the ball during the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge and Riverton players battle for the ball during the 6A championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge fans cheer on their team during the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge head coach Toby Peterson (right) consoles senior Lauren Bradshaw after the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge junior Megan Hanson (left) battles for the ball during the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge junior Addi Arnell (left) consoles senior defender Hadlie Bullock after the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge senior defender Hadlie Bullock (center) kicks the ball during the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge sophomore Amanda Caswell (left) battles for the ball during the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Skyridge and Riverton players battle for the ball during the 6A championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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The Skyridge girls soccer team prepares to take the field before the 6A championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

The odds were clearly stacked against the Skyridge girls soccer team midway through the first half of Friday’s 6A state championship game against Riverton at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.

Not only did the Falcons have no experience in the state finals (first trip in school history) and were missing a pair of starters with others limited by injuries, they also had seen the Silverwolves net two goals to take a commanding lead.

Was it the end of the road for Skyridge?

Not for this team.

“We talked at halftime how we had been there before,” Falcon head coach Toby Peterson said. “If we could regain our composure and focus, let out bodies loosen up a little bit after we were really tight in the first half, then we thought we were going to see some success. Ultimately we did.”

Skyridge roared back into the game by notching a goal in the 47th minutes and had Riverton on its heels for almost the entire second half.

The never-quit attitude got the Falcons numerous chances to tie things up but it turned out to be the Silverwolves who made the last play, notching a late goal to secure the 3-1 win and the title.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Peterson said. “I said that after the last game and it holds true again today. They fought hard but it didn’t go our way. We could not find a break today. We had several crosses cross across the face of the goal when girls were there. They were just half a step or even a quarter step shy of what would have ultimately given us the success we wanted. We just came up a little short today.”

Riverton put Skyridge in a tough spot with an early attack that got a corner kick. When the ball was bouncing around on the ensuing set piece, it hit a Falcon player’s hand in the box and the Silverwolves were awarded a penalty kick.

Riverton senior Mari Regla hit a perfect shot from the spot to the top right corner, putting her team in front less than five minutes into the game.

The Silverwolves doubled the lead in the 25th minute when senior Macy Pino slotted the ball with precision to right where senior Belle Christensen was cutting in from the right side.

Christensen’s shot was low and on target, making it a 2-0 game.

Skyridge started finding some offensive success at the end of the first half and that carried over after the break.

The Falcons got on the board in the 47th minute when junior midfielder Kylie Olsen lofted a gorgeous cross from the left side the went right to senior midfielder Emily Auman. Auman headed the ball just inside the right post for the goal.

Skyridge had some great chances for the equalizer but shots either went just wide or were cleared off the line.

With time winding down, the Falcons had to get more aggressive and moved players forward.

With the help of a tough offsides call, Riverton was able to get its footing and counterattack. It took advantage of the fewer defenders and senior forward Megan Walker scored to put the game out of reach.

“That was a tactical decision on my part to loosen up the back end, hoping to gain advantages in front of the goal,” Peterson said. “They were able to score the third goal because of it.”

Even though the outcome wasn’t what Skyridge wanted, Peterson said he saw some amazing things from his Falcons this season.

“There was a lot of drama with this team leading up to the season,” Peterson said. “Obviously coaching changes throw people for a little bit of a loop. We asked these girls to set aside the drama and come together as a team. We told them that if they were able to do that, they would see success no matter what happened. In the end, that’s what happened. They came together and I think that’s the thing I’m the most proud. They came together as friends and they fought hard. They didn’t let disappointments interfere with what our goals were. When they did fall short, they stepped up and came back the next day, stronger than ever.”

He especially lauded the efforts of the 10 Skyridge seniors, who he felt like did a spectacular job of laying a solid foundation for the Falcon program.

“Those 10 seniors, whether they were a starter or whether they’re a support player, they came and they fought,” Peterson said. “We talked all season long about culture and developing Skyridge’s culture. I can give them suggestions on what it should be but ultimately it comes down to the players. They were at every practice during the summer, getting up early in the morning. They lead by example and by discipline, by heart and determination. They developed a culture that is going to last for a long time.”

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