Grantsville • Memorable might not be a word that can cover it all, but this week is something the Grantsville girls’ soccer program will remember.
Senior Sabrina Allen won the region cross-country meet before Grantsville’s Class 3A state playoff game against American Leadership Academy. Then after a 6-3 victory Wednesday, the Cowboys’ first postseason game in school history, Grantsville players, students and parents gathered in a circle and released yellow and white balloons to the sky in honor of Bob Ellett, the father of senior Sarah Ellett, who died from brain cancer two days before.
“I think we really wanted to win today for [Sarah]. It’s so hard because her dad’s been to everything,” freshman Whitney Wangsgard said. “He died two days ago, so it’s been super-hard. We just wanted to win today for Sarah and Bob.”
The star of the game for Grantsville (11-4-1) was Wangsgard, who had 40 goals this season coming into the match and finished the day with a hat trick.
Wangsgard had four other chances where she could have scored as well, Grantsville coach Travis Lowry said
“She’s a little bit injured — and nerves,” Lowry said. “She’s a freshman, first time in something this big.”
Wangsgard admitted afterward that nerves were a part of the equation. And despite her prolific year, she thinks more of the misses than the scores.
“He [Lowry] told me before that feeling nervous was good because it means you care about the game,” Wangsgard said. “We wanted to show everyone what Grantsville’s about.
“I really couldn’t do it without my teammates. They have all the passes and all the balls. I do remember the misses actually. I replay [them] in my head over and over, but you’ve just got to fix it next game.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Whitney Wangsgard scored on two breakaways in the first half to give her team a 3-1 lead. After four more good opportunities to score, the Grantsville freshman scored the final goal of the game — her 43rd of the season.
The scoring opened with a long goal from Grantsville’s Talia Hawke, who scored from near midfield in the opening minute on a ball that fell through the ALA keeper’s grasp and rolled into the net.
After the first half ended with Grantsville ahead 3-1, Hawke scored again to start the second half. The visitors from Spanish Fork put a scare into the Cowboys in the second half, though, on a penalty kick by Rebekah Carroll and a goal from Eliza Carlisle cut ALA’s deficit to 4-3.
Grantsville responded when Layne Holmes scored on a rebound and Wangsgard, moments after clanging a shot off the left post, connected for her final goal for the final margin.
“Unfortunately we gave up a goal in the first few seconds of the game, which put us in a bad situation,” American Leadership coach Antonio Mendita said.