Draper • East cemented its status as a contender in the Class 5A girls’ soccer state tournament with Thursday’s convincing 4-1 victory over top-ranked Corner Canyon.
“That was probably the best 80 minutes of soccer we’ve played,” East coach Rudy Schenk said. “We knew we’d need that. We knew we’d need a full 80 and then some to beat these guys. I’m really proud of my girls after that one.”
Junior forward Emily Jensen led the way with a pair of goals, while sophomore Erin Bridges and senior Sami Black also scored, giving each of them goals in both of their tournament wins.
After a productive yet ultimately unsuccessful majority of the first half, the Leopards finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a strong service from senior defender Catherine Hill in the midfield. Hill blasted a free kick toward goal and Jensen was left unmarked as she easily guided a header into the far-post netting to put East up 1-0 at halftime.
“She’s got a really good ball,” Jensen said. “Once I saw it come near me, I was like, ‘This is my ball.’ I’m just thinking, ‘Put it near goal’. That’s the mentality you need to have is just to put it on frame.”
It didn’t take long for East to double its lead when Bridges side-stepped a defender in the penalty area and beat the Corner Canyon keeper at the near post for a 2-0 lead in the 44th minute.
Then a hard foul on Jensen set up East’s leading scorer to put away the game.
“I just kind of wanted to give it back to them, so I looked for that far corner,” Black said.
EAST 4, CORNER CANYON 1
• Junior Emily Jensen scores her second and third goals of the tournament, while sophomore Erin Bridges and senior Sami Black each add their second for the Leopards.
• East scores more goals than any other Corner Canyon opponent while also holding the Chargers to their lowest scoring total of the season.
• East outshoots Corner Canyon 13-8 while putting seven on frame in the victory.
Black’s free kick curled toward the far-post, pinged down off the crossbar and snuck over the goal line to give her 13 goals this season. While her offense has been key to the Leopards’ hot streak, Black was quick to point out that it was the defense that deserved a lot of credit for finishing off the Chargers.
“We’ve been scoring goals all season,” Black said. “Playing without our star center back was really hard for us, so I’m really happy for the defense and what they were able to do today.”
The defensive outing was more impressive considiering the Leopards were facing one of the most physical and high-scoring offensive squads in the state.
“Our game plan was to pressure and not let them get off the service that lets them break like crazy,” Schenk said. “We got after them, we played some nice passes in the back and for other girls to come in after some crucial injuries, I’m just so proud of the way they played.”