ST. GEORGE — The Crimson Cliffs High School girls soccer teams made a strong showing at a recent weeklong camp held at Snow College in Ephraim.
Andy Yergensen, who has been the Crimson Cliffs head coach since the inception of the new school a year ago, said the Mustangs had 44 girls at the camp, grouped into one varsity and two subvarsity teams.
The camp, which ran from July 6-10, featured teams from several Utah high schools and one from Preston, Idaho. Other Southern Utah teams participating included those from Dixie, Canyon View and Hurricane high schools. Hurricane was also one of a handful of schools that had a team in the boys camp held concurrently with the girls team camp.
Yergensen said some Crimson Cliffs athletes served as reserves for multiple teams, meaning a few players saw action in as many as 20 different games over the four-day camp.
“They got quite a workout,” Yergensen said.
After finishing varsity pool play in second place with a 5-1-1 record, Crimson Cliffs faced 6-0-1 Cedar Valley in the championship contest, with Crimson Cliffs winning the game 1-0. Incoming freshman Paisley Hinton scored the lone goal off a rebounded shot from Kamryn Brown 15 minutes into the second half. Crimson’s defense stifled the 2019 state scoring leader from Cedar Valley as junior-to-be Ellie Nielsen earned the shutout at goalkeeper.
Crimson Cliffs used 22 players in the final game, with many underclassmen chipping in, their coach said.
The top two teams at the JV level were the Crimson Cliffs B and Wasatch C teams, both of whom finished tied after pool play with 7-0 records.
Despite being considered an underdog against 5A powerhouse Wasatch, which sent 70 girls to the camp, Crimson Cliffs ultimately defeated the Wasps in a dramatic shootout to win the JV championship.
In the final game, both regulation play and overtime had ended with the teams deadlocked 2-2, sending the game to be decided on a shootout. Both teams sent their first five shots into the net. Then, on the sixth attempt, Crimson Cliffs incoming freshman Avery Cardenas stepped up and made her kick, opening the door for incoming freshman goalkeeper Kenadee Richey to try to block Wasatch’s sixth kick for the win.
“Kenadee had gotten her fingertips on a few of the PK shot attempts but just couldn’t stop them,” Yergensen said, “On this sixth attempt, Kenadee got full extension as she dove to her right and reached out to block the Wasatch shot to give Crimson JV the championship.”
Meanwhile, the Crimson Cliffs C team finished pool play with a 5-1-1 record, good enough for third place but just missing out on advancing to the group championship.
Altogether, the Crimson Cliffs teams won 19 games during the camp, against just two losses and two ties.
Crimson Cliffs junior Jantzyn Losee was named Snow College Camp MVP. Defender Alissa Stelter was also named a camp all-star.
“If I had to try and describe last week’s camp in one word, it would be ‘Incredible,'” Yergensen said. “The team building, bonding, and gameplay was a perfect escape from the pandemic for our players. I can’t say enough to how all three Crimson teams performed.”
“It was definitely an incredible week for Crimson Cliffs soccer,” he added. “Our coaching staff expects a lot from these players and despite being underdogs for almost every game, these girls blew away any expectation we had going into camp. We are excited for upcoming season play and hopeful that our players bring that same energy and determination that they brought to the team camp.”
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