Rose Caston sure knows how to make up for lost time.
In her first game back since an ankle injury sidelined her in late August, Caston scored a pair of goals to lead Rowland Hall to a 3-0 victory over Beaver in Saturday's 2A quarterfinal match at Sunnyside Park.
With the victory, Rowland Hall advances to Friday's semifinals and will take on South Summit at Woods Cross High School at 1 p.m. Even though Rowland Hall beat South Summit twice during the regular season by four goals each time, coach Jamie Wilhite won't let her players take anything for granted at this stage of the season.
"You've got to earn every minute of every game. These kids need to understand that it's great to be here, but that's not enough," said Wilhite. "You've got to come out, and it's got to be 110 percent, because (at) playoffs anything goes."
The heavily favored Winged Lions got a taste of that early in Saturday's match. Despite dominating possession and getting off numerous shots, after 20 minutes Rowland Hall still had nothing to show for it with the game scoreless.
Caston finally broke through in the 21st minute with a well-struck shot from the top of the box that slipped just underneath the crossbar.
"It wasn't really powerful, but I placed it just right," said Caston.
Considering that Rowland Hall hadn't played a game in 12 days, Wilhite believes the early goal was the turning point, especially against a Beaver team playing just its second year of varsity soccer.
Rowland Hall's confidence gradually increased during the remainder of the first half, and it didn't take long for it to produce results in the second half. Caston knocked in a cross from Lauren Babcock in the 46th minute to make it 2-0, and then three minutes later a Caston corner kick took a deflection off a Beaver player and trickled into the net for a 3-0 advantage.
Even though the Beavers were outmanned, they showed resiliency battling until the final minute and were nearly rewarded as they earned a pair of dangerous free kicks that forced Rowland Hall keeper Ellie Marker into a couple of tough saves."I think we're confident going into the semifinals," said Caston. "And hopefully we'll go all the way."
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