Roy High girls soccer comes from behind to win 1st region title in 26 years
ROY — In its so-far perfect region season, the Roy High girls soccer team had won a couple close games, won some games by mercy rule, and put a region championship in sight.
One thing the Royals hadn’t done this season was come from behind to win a match.
Roy trailed Taylorsville, the second-place team in the Region, 1-0 for 13 minutes in the first half and slowly scored goals to not only come back and win 4-1, but to win the school’s first region championship in girls soccer since 1995.
“This is a special moment for us at Roy, and it’s been a goal for a long time and I’m really grateful for all the kids I’ve been able to coach here at Roy and how they’ve built this program,” Roy coach Alyssa Foutz said. “Now the girls that are playing here now get to reap the rewards of winning a championship.”
The trophy recognizing the 1995 team is in the large hallway south of Roy’s main gymnasium. Fashion and hairstyles have changed drastically since then, as the picture on the trophy would indicate.
Things have also changed with respect to Roy’s landscape in Utah high school sports.
No longer are the Royals in Region 1 or Region 5, a result of the latest realignment that put Roy in Region 2 where, as of Tuesday, RHS would be the only girls soccer team out of seven in the region that is in the top 16 of the 6A RPI rankings.
At around the 20-minute mark, the complexion of Tuesday’s game also changed drastically from the prior nine Region 2 games for Roy (10-4, 10-0 Region 2) where the team outscored its opponents 41-3.
It seemed as soon as the clock read “20:00,” Taylorsville (6-7, 6-3) started pressing high up the field and it paid off with a goal and a 1-0 lead about 45 seconds later when Ashley Cardozo got ahold of the ball, took a few steps and fired a low shot past Roy’s keeper.
“We embrace adversity. I told them at halftime I wouldn’t have written it any other way,” Foutz said. “I’d love for them to face the adversity of a tough Taylorsville team, and come out here and have to prove why they should be the region champs, and they did that. They stepped up in the second half and proved that point really well.”
The goal was the fourth Roy had allowed in the region season and also was the first time the Royals had trailed in a game since non-region play when they went 0-4.
One thing they hadn’t done all year was come from behind to win.
Kambrie Buttars was the provider for Roy’s first goal, sending a through ball with the outside of her foot that found its way to Samantha Medina, who beat the keeper to the top of the penalty box and got the ball to roll in.
The go-ahead goal came after halftime when Sarah Clark smashed in a rebound from close range after a long period of sustained pressure.
Roy had a couple more one-on-one chances to score. One was saved by the keeper and the other, hit by Jaelyn Barba, was waved off due to a foul behind the play.
The Royals didn’t have to wait long for a third goal, though. Essence Burrus fired in with her left foot a couple minutes after the disallowed goal to put Roy ahead 3-1.
A thumping goal in the 74th minute by Kasia Greely put the game to bed. The consummate full-team celebration followed onto the field at the final whistle with hugs to go around.
Part of Roy High’s desire to move to Region 2 from Region 1 was to give its student-athletes a better chance of success and more like competition instead of being pushed around in Region 1.
Roy girls soccer certainly has had loads of success and there are still plenty of games left in the 2021 season.