Chargers finish historic season with state soccer title
Oct 25, 2018 03:33PM
● By Jana Klopsch
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
The Corner Canyon High girls soccer team were ranked No. 1 in 5A for the much of the season, and that’s right where the Chargers finished with a 2-1 victory over Murray in the state championship game Oct. 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It was the greatest feeling on earth to win state,” said senior midfielder Megan Astle. “It was such a great opportunity to make history at our school, but also to do it with such a fun group of girls. After all of our hard work, it was awesome to see it all pay off.”
Corner Canyon scored its two goals within the first 20 minutes of the title matchup. The first came when Kayla Milford was taken out in the box and Astle stepped up for the penalty kick and put it through for the game’s first score. It was Astle’s 17th goal of the year.
“It was such a relieving feeling when I saw the ball roll into the back of the net,” Astle said. “With PKs, there’s so much pressure — one inch too far and you miss it; too slow and the keeper saves it. So, there’s always a lot of pressure that you have to deal with. There’s a fine line between overthinking it and not focusing enough. I just had to go for it, and luckily it worked out.”
Sophomore Maryn Granger, committed to the University of Utah, finished off a corner kick from Kenli Coons a couple minutes later, and Corner Canyon led 2-0 before surrendering a goal to Murray off of a quick corner kick while the Chargers were still setting up defensively with about 15 minutes left in the first half.
The second half went back and forth on the long Rio Tinto field, which is much larger than the two squads are used to playing on. Corner Canyon head coach Krissa Reinbold said Murray made a “good final push with (goalkeeper) Haleigh (Rasmussen) coming up with a huge final save” to come out on top.
“It was incredible to see the dedication and hard work that these girls put in all season pay off,” Reinbold said. “It was a fun, proud moment as a coach.”
During the state tournament, Corner Canyon defeated East 4-1 in the first round Oct. 9, turning a 1-0 lead at halftime into a 4-1 win with three second-half goals. Coons, committed to Utah State, scored two goals while Milford, who will play for the Air Force Academy next season, and future Gonzaga Bulldog Willow Collins each added one.
In the quarterfinals Oct. 11, Corner Canyon defeated Maple Mountain 3-1. The Chargers and the Golden Eagles were tied at 1-all at halftime before scoring two second-half goals for the winning margin. Coons, Collins and Astle each scored in the win.
Reinbold said that was a “pivotal, turning moment” for her squad as they found themselves down 1-0 at Maple Mountain in a rainy matchup. “To see the way the girls rallied as a unit, encouraged each other and just fought, I knew then that this was our year,” she said.
Corner Canyon faced Skyline in the semifinals in a rematch of its fifth game of the season, which the Chargers had won 2-0. This time, they scored two first-half goals and added two more in the second half for a 4-0 win to secure a spot in the title game. Junior midfielder Macy Hart picked a nice time for her first goal of the season, putting the Chargers up 1-0 midway through the first half. Rasmussen recorded her eighth shutout of the season while Milford, Corner Canyon’s leading scorer this season, netted her 21st goal of the year and Coons and Collins also scored.
The Chargers squad divided up the season into four parts — the preseason, first half, second half and playoffs — so they could focus on small goals every step of the way. “We never wanted to get too far ahead of ourselves,” Reinbold said. Corner Canyon rattled off 13 wins to start the season before back-to-back one-goal losses to Alta and Timpview.
“Those losses woke us up and made us realize that we had to fight and want it more than anyone else,” said Rasmussen, who nearly didn’t try out for the team for her senior season since she wasn’t planning to play club soccer or move on to the college ranks. “I just decided to go have fun with it and give it all I had. It’s an unbelievable feeling that is still honestly so surreal that we actually won state.”
Reinbold said Rasmussen was “hands down the best addition to our roster” as the former JV keeper became the varsity starter this season. “She surprised all of us and probably surprised herself, but one thing about Haleigh is that she listens and does what she’s asked to do and she was simply phenomenal for us,” Reinbold said.
Astle is grateful for seeing the development of the Corner Canyon program the past four years. “From being the fourth seed my freshman year and losing our first playoff game to become state champs is a great accomplishment,” she said. “Although individuals have high stats, our team has never focused on that. It’s always selfless actions that got us far. We play as a team, not individually.”
Twelve different players scored this season for the 17-2 championship team — Coon had 12, Collins seven, Granger six, Makenzie Taylor four, Reagan Winget three, Kallyn Chynoweth two, Kaytlyn Larsen two, Annika Manwaring one, Grace Jeppson one and Hart one — and Rasmussen felt that was the key to being successful this season.
“We were a team as a whole, not just one player,” Rasmussen said. “Everyone was so dominant and our opponents couldn’t just key in on one player because there was another one who was just as capable right there.”
Also on the 2018 squad were Elizabeth Baird, Alison Boman, Sarah Broadbent, Sage Burt, Sophie Burt, Carsyn Cosgrave, Cate Cosgrave, Jenna DiGinadomenico, Abby Flamm, Mia Hadden, Maggie Hart, Halle Hathaway, Kaelyn Kearney, Avery King, Lucy Lilywhite, Mia McKnight, Skye Meyers, Cassie Pickering, Paje Rasmussen, Kaytlyn Scott, Grace Walker, Aly Milford and Jadaisha Wanhila.
“We were family,” Astle said. “Everyone was best friends with everyone and so when we were on the field, it was just fun.”
Reinbold was assisted by Bayleigh Steed, Cassity Cutrer and Andrew Van Wagenen on the coaching staff.
“Our coach did a great job of creating a perfect atmosphere on our team,” Astle said. “Every practice was focused on specific parts of our game we had to improve, but they were still a lot of fun.”
Astle credited Coach Reinbold on understanding a “perfect balance” of having fun and staying focused on improving. The team enjoyed “fun fitness Fridays” where players would dress up for a specific theme — like in 80s or gothic garb, for example.
Reinbold said her team felt early on that the focus would be the team this season and not individual players. “It’s like what the Utah Jazz said last season, ‘The strength of our team is our team,’” she said.
“The opportunity I had to play with such a great group of girls and be coached by incredible coaches was something I’ll never take for granted,” said Astle, who will play for Utah State next season. “We also had a lot of support from parents, students and teachers and that definitely helped us along the way. I’m grateful we get to share this victory with our city.”