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Sandy • It took three years, but retribution was the order of the day for the Waterford Ravens Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. In 2018, the Ravens were disposed of rather handily by Rowland Hall in the girls’ Class 2A state championship.
The two years in between were two more titles for Rowland Hall, bringing its championship streak to four-in-a-row heading into this season.
Waterford, which fell to Parowan in the playoffs the last two seasons, came into the current campaign with talent — but fell twice in the regular season to Rowland Hall again.
But the most talented of the Ravens made sure it didn’t happen again.
Behind four goals from senior midfielder Seven Castain, Waterford beat back Rowland Hall 4-3 to win the 2A title.
“I’m grateful for an amazing game, that’s probably one of the best games I’ve ever had and against an amazing team,” Castain said. “Winning it with my best friends, I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Seven wasn’t named in honor of her placement in a long line of siblings, by the way.
“My parents had a really hard time having me. I’m an only child,” she explained. “For them, Seven means lucky, completion and perfection and so I strive to be perfect every day.”
Although Waterford (15-2) kept the offensive pressure against Rowland Hall (13-4) through most of the first half, Castain’s early goal only five minutes in was the only tally before intermission.
She started the second half like the first, finding the net only five minutes into the half for a 2-0 lead. But that’s when the Winged Lions started showing their own offensive prowess starting with an answer goal by senior Mary Bocock less than 30 seconds later.
Rowland Hall then tied the game in the 58th minute on a strong free kick by Camryn Kennedy that bounced past Ravens’ keeper Halee Hasebi.
Castain, who was a constant nuisance to the Lions especially right in front of their goal, was yanked down by a defender with 19:30 left in the contest. That led to a free kick, which Castain deflected off Rowland Hall keeper Bariyima Nenbee for a 3-2 lead.
“She’s really intentional on how she trains and how she’s going to apply that training on the field,” Waterford coach Kimiko Miyashima said of Castain, who will play for TCU collegiately. “Especially depending on the opponents, she gathers the film, she watches at home.
“She’ll make notes and then she’ll go apply it,” Miyashima added. “When we play a team like this, she’s ready.”
Rowland Hall deadlocked the game again however in the 65th minute when junior Maile Fukushima got a left shot past Hasebi.
But the left foot was in order for Castain, too.
With 4:54 remaining in the game, Castain left-footed the ball off Nenbee and into the net for what would be the final score of the day.
“I just happened to shove the (Rowland Hall) girl off and get the shot off left-footed,” Castain said. “The keeper had a great hand on it, but it was just a better shot. I’ve been working on that crossing and finishing.
“I knew that at some point we were going to get that goal in there, whether it was from me or my teammates.”
With her four goals, Castain set a girls’ state scoring record for a single season with 71 goals.
“The last time we were here, their class (the senior class), they were freshmen,” Miyashima said. “To come back to Rio Tinto after we had a little chip on our shoulder from that game, it’s picture perfect.”