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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Layton's Kaitlyn Richins and Syracuse's Lauren Burnett reach for the ball during a girls soccer game at Layton High School in Layton, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Layton won 3-1.
Defense is what we have been stressing with this team, and we talked about it before the game. We knew the only way to stop them was to play great team defense —Tara Ferrin

LAYTON — 41, 23, 18, 12, 10, nine and six. Those numbers represent the goals scored by each of the girls soccer teams in Region 1 (Syracuse, Northridge, Davis, Fremont, Weber, Layton and Clearfield) heading into Tuesday’s games.

At the top were the Syracuse Titans, far and away the best scoring team in the region thanks to what has to be considered one of the most dynamic attacks in the state. Through eight games, the Titans had been unstoppable, averaging over five goals per contest. Freshman dynamo Caroline Stringfellow had led the way for Syracuse, with 16 goals, or twice as many scores as the next best Titan.

The 2017 Layton Lancers stood in stark contrast to the Titans, whom they hosted at Layton High School Tuesday afternoon. Through seven games, the Lancers had mustered just nine goals, the second worst mark in the region. For Layton, wins had come as a result of stellar defensive play. The Lancers had held their opponents to just seven total scores, including four shutouts.

As such, the region showdown between the Titans and Lancers was a battle of styles. Offense versus defense.

As is often the case, defense prevailed. Led by an all-around defensive effort, including the spectacular play of goalkeeper Meg Edwards, the Lancers defeated the Titans 3-1.

“Defense is what we have been stressing with this team, and we talked about it before the game. We knew the only way to stop them was to play great team defense’,” said Layton head coach Tara Ferrin.

Edwards, who made some particularly noteworthy saves, backed up her coach, noting, “We didn’t want to focus on one person. Yeah, Caroline had scored a ton of goals, but we knew if we stopped the team we would stop Caroline. It was a whole team effort on defense.”

The funny thing is, it was the Lancers offense that excelled. At least in the first half.

After falling behind 1-0, (the Titans' Sarah Wynn netted her goal with ease, seven minutes into the contest, thanks to a perfectly timed through pass) the Lancers flipped the proverbial switch and executed like a team comfortable scoring the ball.

Midway through the half, sophomore Abby Fotheringham, after racing up the right wing, sent an excellent cross into the box, which junior Karsyn Miller drilled past Syracuse goalie Gabby Segura. That score knotted the game at one goal apiece and served as a precursor to what was to come.

Later in the half, with six minutes left and again with just over a minute remaining, the Lancers were awarded a corner kick. On both occasions, senior Ashley Arnes sent a nearly flawless ball into the box, which a Lancer, Kaitlyn Richins and then Corinne Case, subtly redirected into the back of the net.

“We worked on (set pieces) yesterday,” said Ferrin. “We haven’t been very successful, so we stressed corner kicks yesterday, and it paid off.”

Layton took a 3-1 lead into halftime, and, when the teams reemerged, it was the Layton defense that took over.

Time and again the Lancers stymied the Titans attack, and, when that didn’t work, Edwards was there. On one particular occasion, Syracuse was awarded a free kick. Midfielder Kenadee Arigot was tabbed to attempt it, and her shot look destined to go in — that is, until Edwards batted it up into the crossbar.

“It was a good shot. A great shot,” said Edwards. “Luckily, I was there.”

Her job wasn’t finished just yet, however. Stringfellow corralled the rebound and sent a shot towards the goal, which Edwards deflected out of harm's way.

“I don’t even know. It was just a reaction, it came so fast,” said Edwards. “You just kind of have to go with your instincts on a shot like that.”

“I didn’t worry too much (heading into this game),” added Edwards. “I just played my game. So did everyone else, and it worked out.”

With the win, the Lancers improve to 6-3-0 (4-1-0 in Region 1) while the Titans fall to 8-1-0 (5-1-0).

Up next, the Lancers travel to Northridge High School Thursday afternoon to do battle with the Knights. As for the Titans, they do not play again until Tuesday, Sept. 12, when they host the Fremont Silver Wolves.

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