DRAPER — The Corner Canyon Chargers were uncertain that they could defeat the visiting Skyline Eagles Tuesday afternoon at Corner Canyon High School.
You could see it on their faces, in their body language and most importantly in their play. The Chargers were timid throughout the first half of their non-region bout against the Eagles.
It was all for a simple reason — they hadn’t defeated the Eagles in four years.
Since recording a 4-3 regular season victory in 2014, Corner Canyon had lost back-to-back-to-back contests against Skyline, including a first-round playoff defeat in 2015.
Last season, while boasting one of the more talented, not to mention most experienced teams in the state, the Chargers came up short again, 3-2, in a non-region game.
It was only natural for this year’s team, a team devoid of 11 seniors from last year, to doubt their quality.
“In the first half we were a little tentative,” Corner Canyon head coach Krissa Reinbold said. “It’d been four years since we had beaten Skyline, and it had been a one-goal game every time we had played them, so I think there was a little bit of a tentative nature when we came out.”
Thanks to a timely halftime adjustment, as well as the play of Megan Astle and Maryn Granger, who each netted a goal, Corner Canyon was able to flip the script and defeat Skyline 2-0.
Astle and Granger’s goals came within three minutes of each other, 12 and 15 minutes into the second half, which saw an entirely different Chargers team than the first.
Throughout the first half, Skyline's players were the aggressors. The Eagles' midfield had its way, dominating possession of the ball and creating more than a few scoring opportunities.
The visitors came within inches of scoring on multiple occasions in the first half, thanks to a shot by sophomore Jayda Masina that drifted wide right of the top corner of the net and an attempt by Ella Kortbawi that only failed to reach the back of the net thanks to a diving save by Haleigh Rasmussen, the Corner Canyon keeper.
Even after star attacker Cassidy Orr — Orr led the 5A classification in goals scored last season with 25 — left the game with a broken tibia, Skyline looked the better team.
Everything changed in the second half, however, as the Chargers' midfield transformed.
“I told my center mids to attack,” Reinbold said. “Their defense wasn’t stepping up on us when we turned. We did that once in the first half and it was really our only (scoring) opportunity, so in the second half I told them they had to drive.”
The Chargers' midfielders did just that, Kenli Coon leading the charge (Coon earned multiple free kicks due to her aggression, one of which led directly to Granger’s goal).
The adjustment proved just what Corner Canyon needed.
“That made their defense move,” said Reinbold. “Their defense is really good, and we weren’t making them do anything. I told the girls you have to put them under pressure, and that was enough to kind of separate them.”
The first degree of separation came courtesy of Astle, who drilled a shot about 20 yards out, past Skyline goalie Lucy Peterson.
“She is really smart. She is good on the ball, sees the field really well, and she also has an amazing shot,” Reinbold said of Astle. “She is left-footed, so she’ll crack the ball right or left, and being able to be a threat with both feet, people don’t always expect that.”
Minutes later, while attempting a free kick, Granger scored her goal, the ball hitting Alexia Anderson in the hands before slipping between them.
That was all the separation the Chargers needed.
“This is a good baseline for where we are at. It is a good measurement game,” said Reinbold. “We have a really young team, but a really talented team. I think if anything this (win) is a confidence booster. It is motivation to keep going.”