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High school girls soccer: Powered by a trio of goal scorers, Skyline tops Murray in Region 6 showdown

Ani Jensen, Izzy Wright and Ali Swensen each netted a goal in the Eagles’ 3-0 victory, the team’s second win over the Spartans this season.

Skyline’s Laura Cookson leaps above Murray’s Sydney Wilcken and heads the ball upfield during a Region 6 girls soccer game at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. Skyline won 3-0.
Skyline’s Laura Cookson leaps above Murray’s Sydney Wilcken and heads the ball upfield during a Region 6 girls soccer game at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. Skyline won 3-0.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A showdown between Region 6 powerhouses played out Tuesday afternoon at Skyline High School.

On the one hand were the Skyline Eagles, unbeaten in region play and ranked No. 1 in the 5A classification.

Their opponent — the Murray Spartans — were 5A runners-up a season ago and have been hot on the Eagles’ trail for the top spot in Region 6 this year.

The teams met once before this season, in an Aug. 20 contest.

That afternoon, Skyline defeated Murray, dealing the Spartans their only loss in a 5A competition.

Tuesday afternoon, the Eagles did it again.

Powered by the goal-scoring trio of Ani Jensen, Ali Swensen and Izzy Wright, Skyline defeated Murray 3-0, taking a two-game lead over the Spartans in Region 6.

All three scores came in the first half, Jensen’s in the 11th minute, Swensen’s in the 25th and Wright’s in the 31st.

The win marked the 10th of the season for Skyline, eighth in the region, and the Eagles success thus far can be traced to their elite goal scoring.

With 56 goals on the year, Skyline has netted more than any other 5A team, ahead of Murray (46), Olympus (45), Timpanogos (41) and East (40).

The high level scoring has been a team effort, as seven different Eagles players have netted four or more goals.

“That is the difference,” Skyline head coach Yamil Castillo said. “That is what is most impressive about this team this year and I think that is why we are having a fantastic season so far. We have six or seven different people who can score, not just one or two.”

Swensen, Wright and Jensen are among that group, the leaders, in fact, with 11, 10 and eight goals, respectively.

Also a part of the goal scoring success have been Rozlin Gomez (six), Ella Kortbawi (five), Zoe Garver (four) and Lily Kimball (four).

It wasn’t all goal scoring Tuesday, though.

The Eagles backline was particularly effective, and largely contained the Spartans’ own elite offense and primary attackers Sydney Wilcken and Sammie Sofonia.

“We are very deep everywhere,” Castillo said. “Especially with the midfielders and a good backline.”

Those units helped Skyline control the game and possession of the ball throughout the first half.

It took only three minutes of play for the Eagles to create their first shot attempt, a Kortbawi effort that flew just across the front of the goal.

A few minutes later, Kimball had a go, after which, Jensen found her breakthrough.

The senior’s score came from 30 yards out, catching Murray goalkeeper Alexi Bates a little by surprise.

It was Jensen who set up Swensen’s score too, with a nearly perfect through pass that Swensen corralled alone in the box before driving it past Bates.

Wright had the goal of the game, a free kick from 40 yards away that could not be stopped.

“Izzy has scored five or six goals that way this season,” Castillo said. “She is pretty dangerous from outside. A lot of practice.”

The early onslaught brought with it heated emotions and multiple yellow cards were handed out to Skyline’s Giselle Carcano, Liz Dudley and Murray’s Wilcken.

Those tempers subsided a bit in the second half — “I think both teams kind of toned it down. We were trying to avoid yellow cards and also injuries,” Castillo said — and while Murray outshot Skyline nine to four, Skyline keeper Lucy Peterson and the Eagles’ backline proved up to the task.

With the win, Skyline improves to 10-0-1 (8-0-1) and will next face Olympus on Thursday, Sept. 19.

Murray, meanwhile, fell to 7-3-1 (6-2-1) and will host Brighton.