When Corner Canyon’s final penalty kick soared high over the crossbar, the Pleasant Grove girls soccer team – which was gathered at midfield – hesitated for a moment.
Was it over? Did they really just win? Were they really going to the 6A semifinals?
Yes, yes and yes.
A wild celebration ensued for the Vikings, who made program history by earning their first-ever trip to the girls soccer semifinals by beating the Chargers 4-2 in a shootout.
“I just think it’s so cool because this is the first time we’ve made history,” Pleasant Grove junior forward C.C. Norman said. “I think we have a really special team. This is just so surreal. It’s like ‘semifinals!’”
The score was tied at 1-1 after regulation and the two overtime periods. Sadie Pollister and Kenna Sparks both knocked in their PK’s but Corner Canyon matched them with kicks from Paje Rasmussen and Willow Collins. In the third round, Shea Christensen slotted her PK and PG keeper Evy Brimhall stopped the Chargers shot by Maryn Granger for a 3-2 lead. Norman scored for the Vikings and Corner Canyon’s attempt to push the shootout to another round sailed over the crossbar.
“I’m still not over it yet,” second-year PG coach Bailey Bailey said. “That was incredible but also so stressful. But we’ve been practicing those kicks and they really wanted it. I think that’s what it came down to.”
After a scoreless first half, Pleasant Grove found the back of the net in the first minute of the second when Sparks spun away from three defenders and launched a 25-foot shot to the upper part of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
The Vikings turned away several good opportunities for Corner Canyon but a yellow card on Brimhall set up a free kick for the Chargers from just inside the right corner flag. PG failed to clear the initial shot and Grace Jeppson pounded in a shot from just inside the 18 to tie the game at 1-1 with just over 16 minutes remaining.
Sparks had a hard shot near the end of the first overtime that just cleared the crossbar and in the second extra session, Emily Garbet’s attempt was barely pushed away by the Corner Canyon keeper, setting up the shootout.
“I just told them to believe in themselves,” Bailey said. “That’s it. Just have confidence and everything will be OK. I think we played through to the end, even in the overtimes when we had chance after chance. Going to the PK’s, they were like, ‘We did all we could, now let’s just put it away.’”
Pleasant Grove (12-2-2) – the No. 1 seed in the 6A tournament – will play No. 5 seed Davis (13-2-3) in one of the semifinals at Juan Diego High School next Tuesday. The Darts upset No. 4 seed Syracuse 2-1 in double overtime on Thursday.
“I think this is a really unique team,” Norman said. “Were all super close, literally family. I think that’s what really got us going is our relationships with each other, knowing we can trust each other on the field. Off the field have that relationship, too, and that has really brought us all together.”