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3A soccer championship: Ogden’s repeat title bid falls short in penalty shootout loss to RSL Academy

By Patrick Carr - Prep Sports Reporter | Oct 22, 2022

BRIAN NICHOLSON, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Ogden's Kate Pulley (5) removes her gloves after her shootout attempt was blocked as RSL Academy players celebrate their win behind her in the 3A girls soccer state championship game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman.

HERRIMAN — In August, the high school girls soccer season started in the middle of the summer with weather concerns over soccer games — even with water breaks midway through both halves — being played in 100-degree heat on artificial turf fields at 3:30 in the afternoon.

In late October, the final day of the season took place amid the first big rain and snowstorm of the year along with near-freezing temperatures.

Ogden High’s girls soccer team will have all of those experiences when it remembers the 2022 season, but the Tigers won’t have the tangible, physical reward they wanted.

On the coldest, wettest day of the soccer season, Ogden High fell 3-2 in a penalty shootout in the 3A state championship game against the Real Salt Lake Academy charter high school.

“It’s unfortunate for a game that’s so beautiful that it comes down to just kicks, it’s hard, but great team,” Ogden coach Ryan Robinson said. “It’s sad that so much weight is put on the result of things, because really the experience that they have, it’s such a great experience.”

BRIAN NICHOLSON, Special to the Standard-Examiner

RSL Academy's Elliana Goodman (35) and Ogden's Isabelle Kalista (21) battle for the ball during the 3A girls soccer state championship game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman.

The teams tied 1-1 after 80 minutes of regulation. The Tigers lost Nevaeh Peregrina and Brianna Kalista midway through the game to apparent cold weather-related medical issues. Robinson confirmed afterward that Kalista was doing fine.

Ogden’s players arrived to Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on school buses. RSL Academy’s players walked a couple hundred yards to the stadium.

Zions Bank Stadium’s home seating area is maybe 50-100 yards away from the front doors of the RSL Academy charter high school, which is housed in the pro soccer team’s Herriman training campus but purportedly operates as a separate school and entity from the pro soccer club itself.

Missing two players, as well as battling the elements and a good soccer team, Ogden nearly pulled off a repeat state title.

After Bella Gray converted her spot kick, OHS goalkeeper Emily Blackford saved RSL’s kick and the shootout was level at 2-2 after three rounds.

BRIAN NICHOLSON, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Ogden goalkeeper Emily Blackford stops an RSL Academy penalty kick during a shootout to decide the 3A girls soccer state championship game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman.

“If I save one, that’s the main goal I try and get. PKs are supposed to go in, so as a goalkeeper I just try and save one,” OHS goalkeeper Emily Blackford said.

The Tigers missed the next two PKs and RSL, whom Ogden beat 3-0 in the regular season, celebrated the state title.

“I feel like most of our team’s kind of sad because we lost, but sad also because it’s the last time we were playing with our seniors. It’s just emotional for all of us,” Blackford said.

Billboards behind both goals at ZBS say the stadium is at 4,750 feet elevation and, as the cold front moved through the Salt Lake valley, the heavy wind and rain the teams played with at kickoff slowly turned to snow and coated the nearby foothills.

As the weather changed, RSL slowly gained control of the game and took the lead in the 38th minute with a goal from Lou Williams.

Ogden rarely threatened in the attacking end of the field in regulation so naturally, the Tigers scored from way outside the penalty box.

In the 59th minute, Kate Wadsworth sent a long free kick into the box. The ball missed everyone, including the goalkeeper, and bounced in along the near post to tie the game.

A minute after the goal, Kate Pulley hit a shot on target that wasn’t dealt with very well and nearly resulted in another Ogden chance.

“If you’re just watching soccer, what a fantastic game to watch. Both teams had big chunks of time where they dominated, it was really fun to watch,” Robinson said.

Both teams had a couple of really good chances in extra time, but both goalkeepers were up to the task then. Bella Gray had Ogden’s best chance in the 92nd minute with a one-on-one chance that was well-blocked by RSL’s keeper.

Then it was Ogden’s turn to deal with pressure as the Griffins took multiple shots and corner kicks in the 97th and 98th minutes, but none went in.

Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at pcarr@standard.net, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.


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