Ever since they were freshmen, Riverton’s batch of 15 seniors would vow to each other that they would win their school a state title.
In the words of senior Whitney Garn, she and her fellow senior classmates “manifested” those words into truth Friday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“We’ve manifested this,” Garn said. “We’ve been saying we’re going to win state since freshman year, so we all wanted it and we knew we could get there. We knew this was ours and that we all had the same mindset of, ‘We’re not walking out of this stadium with an L.’”
By a final score of 3-1, the Silverwolves defeated Skyridge to claim their first girls soccer state title in school history and send the decorated senior class off in style — something that head coach Paul Moizer thought was more than fitting given how hard they had worked over the years.
“It’s the closest group of seniors I think I’ve ever coached,” Moizer said. “It doesn’t matter who’s playing or who’s scoring, they absolutely support each other every time. It’s beautiful to see.”
The game started off about as well as the super seniors could’ve hoped when the official signaled for a Skyridge handball inside its own penalty area just three minutes into the game, giving senior Mari Regla an opportunity from the spot which she converted to make it 1-0 for Riverton.
Nearly 25 minutes later, Garn delivered a perfectly weighted through-ball to Belle Christensen who passed the ball into Skyridge’s goal, increasing Riverton’s lead to two.
Things seemed to be going perfectly for the Silverwolves heading into the halftime break, but the Falcons must’ve determined they were going to change that.
Seven minutes into the second half, Kylie Olsen sent a cross into the box that found the head of Emily Auman and then the back of the net to pull a goal back for Skyridge. Reinvigorated by the goal, Skyridge put Riverton on its heel for most of the second half.
“We got off to a quick start, which helped, but we were holding on for dear life until the end,” Moizer said. “(Skyridge) came out in the second half looking so good and we were just hanging on and defending. We were disciplined and stayed where we needed to stay defensively, but we honestly just held on for dear life until the end.”
“We are elated and on top of the world. It doesn’t even feel real. Playing in Rio Tinto and scoring, and then getting to hold that trophy up — it just doesn’t feel real.” — Riverton’s Whitney Garn
With under five minutes remaining, Skyridge began to commit more numbers to the attack as it searched for the equalizing goal. Riverton capitalized on the Falcons’ necessary desperation with a quick counter-attack that resulted in a goal from Garn that essentially ended all hope for Skyridge.
On the other hand, the goal provided some much needed relief to Moizer and the Silverwolves.
“If you get two goals and then the other team scores, then they get all the momentum and that certainly happened today,” Moizer said. “So that third goal was huge. It just took all that pressure off of us.”
The final whistle blew and the Riverton supporters erupted, fulfilling the long-living dreams of Garn and her fellow seniors.
“We are elated and on top of the world,” Garn said. “It doesn’t even feel real. Playing in Rio Tinto and scoring, and then getting to hold that trophy up — it just doesn’t feel real.”
It was fitting that all three Riverton goals came from its seniors, who have now etched their names into their school’s history books.
“It feels absolutely fabulous,” Moizer said. “It’s an amazing feeling because these girls have worked so hard and they’ve been so focussed all year. I’m so happy to see that they finally got what they’ve dreamed about.”