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Girls soccer: Morgan beats Ogden on penalties to win Region 13 title outright

By Patrick Carr - Prep Sports Reporter | Sep 28, 2022
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Morgan High goalkeeper Miya Turner is hugged by a teammate after the Trojans beat Ogden for the Region 13 girls soccer championship at the Spence Eccles Community Ogden Sports Complex on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
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Morgan High goalkeeper Madison Wangsgard dives for the ball while Ogden's Isabelle Kalista (21) jumps over her during a prep soccer match at the Spence Eccles Community Ogden Sports Complex on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.
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Ogden High's Aya Obayashi (3) and Morgan's Brecklee Charlton (5) battle for the ball during a prep soccer match at the Spence Eccles Community Ogden Sports Complex on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022.

OGDEN — Lightning flashed west of Ogden late Wednesday night, in full view of everyone at the Spence Eccles soccer complex where the Ogden High and Morgan girls soccer teams were locked in a penalty shootout that would decide whether the Region 13 soccer championship would be Morgan’s alone or Morgan and Ogden’s to share.

Whether the lightning bolts were close enough to the field to necessitate a 30-minute lightning delay probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

The drama of the regular season came down to six rounds of spot kicks. Both sets of student sections flanked their teams’ side of the field to be as close to the action as possible.

On the 12th kick of the shootout and with a possible lightning delay looming, Morgan goalkeeper Miya Turner dove low to the right and saved Brianna Kalista’s penalty to ensure the Trojans won the shootout 5-4 and won the regular-season region championship outright over the Tigers (10-5, 6-2 Region 13).

It was pure jubilation on one side of the field as the Morgan (13-2, 8-0) players and students mobbed one another to celebrate the region title on the road, which also ended Ogden’s run of three straight region championships.

“One save can win it all. I was nervous, of course, but it just turned into excitement. I was ready, we’d been practicing all week,” Turner said.

It was silence and frustration on the Ogden side because of what easily could have been a different outcome to the game.

In the first period of extra time, Turner hit a drop kick from the edge of the penalty box and the far-side assistant referee raised his flag to indicate hand ball on Turner, as she apparently still had her hand on the ball while being outside the penalty box.

Ogden’s entire bench and fan section pointed at the assistant referee and tried getting the center ref’s attention. The game went on.

The Ogden fans, coaches and players protested louder. The game went on. Eventually, the far-side assistant ref lowered his flag and a possible game-altering call never happened.

The center ref never called the hand ball that the assistant ref signaled for. Ogden coach Ryan Robinson went to the near-side assistant referee in between overtime periods to plead his case. The referees were unavailable for comment after the game.

As it was, the game went on tied 1-1 and went to penalties. Ogden’s Emily Blackford saved a spot kick early in the shootout, then Turner saved one with her foot a couple rounds later.

“(Turner) hasn’t played a lot of big minutes this year and she knocked it out of the park. Her and Madi (Wangsgard) had an incredible game,” Morgan coach Bryan Searle said.

Ogden’s Ruth Larsen made her penalty kick with the Tigers down 4-3 to send the shootout into sudden death tied 4-4. Morgan’s Jayda Jones, who scored the game-winning goal in this game last year to give the Trojans a split of the region title, made her penalty to put pressure on Kalista.

Turner dove to her right and saved the penalty. Morgan students rushed the field, but the referees, in apparent confusion over whether the shootout was in a sudden-death format or continuing with five more rounds of PKs, told the students to go back to the sideline.

After a few moments, the center ref blew his whistle to indicate the end of the game and the celebration was on for good to finish out a game that had disjointed vibes from the start, and finished with two evenly matched teams trying not to blink in a staring contest.

“We wouldn’t expect anything different with Ogden. I think we’re going to see them again, I can guarantee that. That’s a great game, both sides,” Searle said. “Listen, I pulled the bus up because I thought we were going to have to get on it because of the storm.”

Ever since Ogden and Morgan became paired up in Region 13 last year, the schools have developed one of the better girls soccer rivalries in Northern Utah. They’ve split the last four games against each other and all four have been decided by one goal, including last year’s 3A state championship game.

It used to be that Ogden dominated this series, but Morgan’s program has hit new heights in the past several years.

Searle has previously said staying “down” in 3A, when the UHSAA made a sixth classification in 2017, certainly has helped the Trojans turn from a mid-table team in the “old” 3A into one of the perennial title contenders in the current 3A.

Among other things, Morgan has closed the gap on Ogden the last two years. Wednesday’s first half reflected that.

The Trojans controlled things the first 20 minutes and had the majority of scoring chances, including Lacie Poll’s one-on-one chance that hit the crossbar. The ball fell back in the penalty box, bounced off a couple players and eventually an Ogden defender cleared it.

Tigers goalkeeper Emily Blackford was busy the first 20 minutes, then her Morgan counterpart Madison Wangsgard got called into action the final 20 minutes of the half after Ogden started to figure things out offensively.

Neither team scored in the first half. Brecklee Charlton opened the scoring for Morgan in the 51st minute and Ruth Larsen leveled for Ogden nine minutes later.

Then the wind blew in from the approaching thunderstorm to the south, mired the field in a dusty haze and gave the Tigers a tailwind for the last 15 minutes of regular time.

Kalista nearly scored for Ogden in the 65th minute when her cross from the left got caught in the wind and had to be tipped onto the crossbar.

Eventually, Turner replaced Wangsgard at goalkeeper for Morgan, which regularly uses both goalkeepers in games. Turner saved Nevaeh Peregrina’s long-distance shot in the 75th minute after the Ogden junior cooked two defenders on the left side to make some space for herself.

Peregrina had a free kick saved in the first period of extra time, which was the last real chance either team had in open play before the penalty shootout. Chance and luck have a bigger presence in a penalty shootout compared to regular time, but Turner said effort can still be the difference even in PKs.

“You dive for every ball no matter what, whether you think you get there or not. Maybe you’ll get a finger on it,” she said.

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


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