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Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Best served cold: Ridgeline rallies for 3-2 win over Ogden, 1st 4A girls soccer title in school history

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Oct. 23, 2020 at 4:42 p.m.


8 photos

SANDY — All through last winter, spring and during the summer, Ridgeline's girls soccer team thought about the Class 4A state championship game.

They remembered advancing to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time in school history, remembered the title game against Ogden.

Most importantly, they remembered the 2-1 loss to the Tigers, ending their season in heartbreak.

And then they set out to correct course.

Adeline Fiefia scored the game-winning goal with three minutes left on the clock, and Ridgeline held off Ogden 3-2 Friday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium to clinch the first 4A girls soccer title in school history.

Marley Guevara and Tenzie Knowles also scored for the Riverhawks (15-6), who lost four of their first matches of the season and ended the year on a 10-match winning streak.

If revenge is a dish best served cold, then the 48-degree backdrop in Sandy proved to be the perfect plate for the Hawks' latest triumph.

"Revenge is one of the best parts of this game, especially how we lost last year," Fiefia said. "This was like redemption, part two.

"Last year, I felt like we all regretted the way we played. This year, we came and left everything out on the field. We're leaving now with no regrets."

The Riverhawks were just happy to make it to the final last year. With all the pressure on Ogden a year ago even before the Tigers won their third state title, Ridgeline used the moment as a learning experience.

Then, 2020 happened — and through the global pandemic, the quarantines, the masks and the extra regulations, the Riverhawks kept focus on one singular goal.

"We kind of weren't set on winning the championship," Knowles said. "This year, we had experience playing here, and it was like we were more comfortable. We were able to focus on our play, instead of the other team."

Tori Kalista notched a brace for Ogden (17-2), the top-seeded Tigers who led from the fifth minute and tied up the match again in the 47th.

But there was plenty of time left for the Riverhawks to come back.

"Making it back to this game is such a privilege, and they learned to play with that pressure. Pressure becomes a privilege for them," Ridgeline coach Mark Tureson said. "They learned to play with it all season long. I'm so happy that they finally got on the upside of this game.

"Every year is a new journey, and we started out looking at some of the things we needed to work on, and in the summer we worked on the technical things. You saw the results of it. We came out here and played with technical competency that really prepared them, really propelled them, to tactically look to do the things today."

Kalista opened the scoring in the fourth minute, dragging a long-range shot from past the penalty area under the crossbar to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

Ridgeline and Ogden face off in the 4A girls soccer state championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Photo: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

The goal, which was set up by Ashlen White and a handful of Tigers looking for the extra pass, came as the Riverhawks surged out early with back-to-back shots on goal and a pair of early corner kicks. But Ogden responded with a counterattack, and Kalista buried the ball for the early advantage.

Ogden goalkeeper Allison Collingwood made a pair of saves to preserve the early advantage, including going low to paw a shot on target 15 minutes in. But that illuminated just how much pressure the Riverhawks put on the defending champions. Guevara pulled one back for Ridgeline, equalizing on a 40-yard rip under the crossbar that lifted the two sides to a 1-1 draw at the break.

The Riverhawks outshot the Tigers 5-2 in the first half, holding Ogden to just one shot on goal in Kalista's marker.

"There wasn't a lot of panic," Knowles said. "We know that we're good, so we just had to come through and put a couple more in."

Knowles gave Ridgeline its first lead of the match with a one-touch rebound in the 47th minute. The senior captain was in the right spot after Oakley Rasmussen's free kick was tipped into the crossbar, but the ball fell to Knowles for the rebound ahead of the final half-hour.

Kalista was in the right place to go ahead again after Ridgeline stuffed another long-range free-kick attempt. The Tigers' 20-goal scorer slotted the rebound into the back of the net in the 60th minute.

With 20 minutes on the clock, the game was reset, 2-2.

Plenty of time for Fiefia, who pushed forward on another free kick and slammed home a rebound from inside the 6-yard box for the game-winner, a goal unlike any other she scored all year.

"When the ball goes up, just follow the ball. If it gets scrambled, get whatever part of your body to follow the ball," she said.

"We have amazing coaches who have helped us get where we are today. It's kudos to them."

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