We’re playing cohesively as a team and everybody is contributing. —Dawain Wheatley
HEBER CITY — For Wasatch High School head soccer coach, Dawain Wheatley, Thursday afternoon’s victory was a perfect way to begin the quest for his next 200 girl’s soccer team wins.
After giving Wheatley his 200th coaching victory on Tuesday night at Provo, 1-0, Wasatch put forth another stingy defensive effort on its own pitch under the bright sunlight in Heber to defeat Region 8 foe, Springville, 1-0.
The win was the Lady Wasp’s second in three consecutive region games. All three games were shutouts for Wasatch, with the match at Timpview last Thursday resulting in a 0-0 tie.
“We’re really playing well right now,” said Wheatley. “We’re playing cohesively as a team and everybody is contributing.”
Springville, one of the teams considered to make a run at the Region 8 title, had scored 16 goals in its last three games. An aggressive Wasp defense cooled off the hot-scoring Red Devils, giving them very few shots on goal, none of which were a real threat to Wasatch goalkeeper Torri Bills.
At the other end of the field, however, the home team was regularly on the attack, especially in the first half when forwards Ashlyn Coleman and Ella Ballstaedt each had looks from the corner.
It was eventually Coleman’s shot that could not be handled by Springville goalie Sam Hall 14 minutes into the game, wich rolled out into play where midfielder Alicia Hansen was able to kick the ball into the left corner of the net past the goalkeeper.
The single goal was all Wasatch would need as its defense, led by speedy junior midfielder Whitley Sargent, refused to allow Springville any open looks as the game went on.
Sargent, playing with tremendous energy, was constantly dropping back from her midfield position to protect Bills in Wasatchs’ three-defensemen scheme.
“That’s by design,” Wheatley said. “Everybody helps out. Whitley is perfect in that situation. She is so cool under pressure. She plays smart and knows exactly where to position herself. (She is ) very quick at getting back on defense and has a great kick to get it going the other way.”
Offensively, Hansen is the seventh player on the Wasatch roster to join in on the scoring. The victory over Springville was its third 1-0 game this season.
“We pretty much know that in this region we’re going to have 1-0 and 2-0 games,” said assistant coach Jared Hendry. “We’ve put a lot of all-out effort into our defense this year. We have a ‘no clean shots’ mantra with these girls. If we can stick to that, we’ll be fine.”
With three tough region matches behind them, the team knows there is much work to be done. The schedule for 4A Region 8 soccer does not let up, and Wheatley continues to stress to his team there are no easy games.Comment on this story
“We were expecting a good game today from Springville,” he said. “We knew they could score. And we played tough against Timpview. They’re very good, and we were glad to come away with the tie,” he added. “Provo is much improved, and they really gave us a run for it the other night. Each game is exciting and presents a new challenge for us, but we’re playing very good right now. It’s a lot of fun.”
Wasatch, who qualified third in region last fall, is in the thick of it early at 2-0-1. The team has five overall wins and hopes to add to that with a non-region contest next week against Lehi before getting back to the region schedule two days later with a visit to Maple Mountain.
Kenny Bristow is the sports editor and staff sports writer for the Wasatch Wave and contributes to the Deseret News high school coverage for the Wasatch region. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. and/or follow him on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.