Girls soccer: Roy clinches share of Region 2 title, beating Granger 6-1
ROY — In baseball, when a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter, teammates will avoid him in the dugout to try and not destroy the good karma or mess with the juju.
On a different kind of pitch, in no way trying to jinx the Roy High girls soccer team — but necessary to broach the subject because of the magnitude of the accomplishment — the Royals are a perfect 10-0 in Region 2 this season after Thursday’s victory over Granger. This after Roy went 12-0 in region play last year.
“I’m not that coach. I’m not that person that looks at the records; I don’t even know the results of other games,” Roy coach Alyssa Foutz said. “I’m just focused on my girls and what we’re doing and making sure that every single day we’re getting better. We just do what we need to do and we’ll be just fine.”
After Granger threw a scare into Roy early in the second half Thursday, the Royals roared back with four goals in the last 19 minutes to win going away 6-1, sweeping the season series and grabbing at least a tie for the region championship.
Roy junior Jaelyn Barba scored a hat trick and had an assist to lead the Roy attack. She was merciless, constantly pounding the Granger keeper with shots on goal and three of them found the back of the net.
“I have not had a hat trick in a varsity season,” Barba said. “I realized that after shooting and not making it, I just needed to calm down and actually pay attention to where I shot it, hitting it into the corners like we practice. So I think that helped a lot.”
Things were tight in the first half with a scoreless game until Barba finally broke through with a goal in the 27th minute to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.
Just a minute and a half later, Barba found Tatum Connell on a cross and Roy had a 2-0 edge at the break.
“We just needed to find our rhythm. Once we found our rhythm and made some adjustments, things opened up for us,” Foutz said. “I think Granger put in a great effort and wasn’t giving up an inch. We had to pick it up to another level. They punished us on one of our mistakes. I think that’s great adversity for the girls to face going into next week.”
That mistake occurred just two minutes into the second half when the Lancers (3-10, 2-8 Region 2) scored, closing the gap to 2-1, causing some angst for the home crowd.
But Barba countered with her second and third goals in the 61st and 68th minutes as Roy took care of business late in the half.
Macy Reed and Essence Burrus scored the other goals for Roy.
The Royals (11-3, 10-0) have a two-game lead with two to play, facing games against Hunter and Kearns next week, the teams in third and second place, respectively.
So, they can win Region 2 outright with a victory in one of those games.
“Our goal is to not only win region but to make a run in state,” Foutz said. “We just push hard every single day, knowing eventually we’ll have to play the best of the best. It just comes back to the commitment to our goals.”