Wasatch pulled off one of two stunning upsets in the second round of the 5A state tournament by outlasting Springville 4-3 on the road in double overtime Tuesday afternoon. The other big upset had No. 16 seed Mountain View stunning No. 1 seed Farmington.
Wasatch came into the state tournament as the No. 14 seed while Springville, the regular season Region 8 champion, was the No. 3 seed.
But in the 92nd minute of play, Wasatch’s Sydney Hales found the back of the net. This was after Lexi Vernsey took a shot from the right side that ricocheted off the top cross bar and the ensuing chaos Hale found the ball and delivered a decisive golden goal kick that will send the Wasps to the quarterfinals to face Bonneville.
“I think my team plays really well in small areas, and this field is smaller,” said Wasatch head coach Bre Carter. “I think it is because again the short field allows us to usually get more shots off and we’re more comfortable, it feels like you can pass-pass shoot much easier.”
Then it came down to stopping Springville’s high powered offense.
“And we also needed to take on Tara Warner (No. 9) and No. 18 as well, Breanna (Eves),” related Carter. “So my defense was hard packed on those girls and limiting those girls on touches and shots and every single player played out of their mind and amazing.”
Neither Warner or Eves scored for the Red Devils though Springville’s Joely Wilson scored twice as well another goal off the foot of Fiona Jensen.
Wasatch relied on the playmaking ability of Quincy Downey, whose two first half goals staked the Wasps to a 2-1 lead at the break. And like her coach, Downey felt the smaller field worked to her team’s advantage.
“It’s a faster build up (with the field),” said Downey.
“I think we do really good under pressure. It takes us a while to build up to it, but we all work together and figure it out,” added Downey.
Another hero for the Wasps was Hannah LaPray whose second half goal tied the match, 3-3.
All total, the match had three changes as Springville scored first, Wasatch then took the lead thanks to the pair of goals from Downey only to see Springville bounce back and take the lead early in the second half with the score by Wilson. But the final lead change belonged to Wasatch.
Toward the end of regulation with the score knotted at three, the Red Devils had several chances to win the game and appeared to have all the momentum.
An extremely tense moment came in the final minute of regulation when Anzlei Larson deflected a shot away but the loose ball was cleared away by LaPray.
Mayson Kelly, Karissa Bingham, and Eliza Gardner, along with keeper Larson, had their hands full, as the Red Devils peppered the Wasps with 38 shots on goal total and several in the last several minutes of play and into the first overtime period. But early in the second overtime things changed as the teams changed sides and Wasatch could move the ball to the north end where the Red Devils defensive players had to deal with the sun.
Since all 29 5A programs qualified for the playoffs, all but three teams played in the first round. One of those teams that got a bye was Springville.
Downey also felt that having played a game while Springville had that bye in the first round of the playoffs was to the Wasatch’s advantage.
“I definitely think that helped us,” said Downey, the Wasp offensive star.
And her coach also agreed.
“We talked about that with our team that they’ve been sitting for 13 days without a game and we’ve already been amped beating Salem Hills in the first round. That definitely helped us with the momentum,” stated Carter.
With the loss Springville ends its season 14-3 while Wasatch (11-7-1) will continue its season, again on the road, by playing Bonneville at 4 p.m. on Thursday.