Girls soccer: Syracuse beats up Roy 4-0 in 6A second round
SYRACUSE — It may be difficult to determine which is more noteworthy: that a freshman and sophomore each scored a brace in the first half of a 6A state playoff soccer game, or that their coach had the confidence and trust in a pair of young players to put them on the pitch.
Syracuse sophomore Avery Sanders scored the first and third goals of the half and freshman Abby Affleck tallied the other two for the Titans on Tuesday.
That was all the No. 8 Titans needed as they shut out No. 9 Roy 4-0 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament to face No. 1 seed Lone Peak on Thursday.
“All credit goes to them and their club coaches, getting them ready to come in; they’re coming in varsity ready,” Syracuse coach Taylor Allen said. “I love playing true freshmen on varsity … it just creates a good, deep program. It builds confidence, knowing they can do it.”
Allen noted Sanders was a varsity starter last season and her confidence grows as she adapts to a utility role on the team.
Sanders got the Titans on the board with a goal just three minutes into the game to get them rolling early.
“I think we came out with a ton of energy and we tried to put it on them. We just worked hard and got that goal and it gave us confidence and helped us to go forward,” Sanders said. “In practice, we try a lot of new things and we all play different positions. We trust each other; we want to play together.”
Affleck followed the early goal with her first score in the ninth minute, as the Titans took a 2-0 lead. She said she has fit in with a veteran team that is tournament tested.
“I came to a lot of summer stuff, so I was able to be seen by the coaches,” Affleck said. “I have a lot of experience with my club team. I just always try to play my best and my teammates have been supportive.”
Utah State commit Abby Schofield assisted on both of the early goals for Syracuse (12-6).
Dakota Merino placed a free kick perfectly in front of the net to assist Sanders’ second score in the 15th minute and Affleck closed the onslaught in the 35th minute on an assist from Cortney Cobabe.
Roy (13-5) saw its 13-game winning streak come to an end on a 43-degree day with a wind chill of 36, but it was the girls in blue that had a lot more to do with the outcome.
“I don’t think that we played our best today, but they’re a great team,” Roy coach Alyssa Foutz said. “They just played on a higher level than some of the teams we faced earlier this year and we couldn’t match it.”
Facing No. 1 Lone Peak is kind of a reversal of fortunes for the Titans from a few years ago.
“Four years ago, when our seniors were freshmen, we were on top, and now things have kind of flipped,” Allen said. “Now they (Lone Peak) are the top dog. I like being the underdog, chasing other teams. We’re excited to play them.
“We always preach peak at the right time and if you take the Davis game, the Layton game and the first half today, we’re right where we want to be.”