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High school soccer: Adeline Fiefia’s late winner lifts poised Ridgeline to 4A state championship

Ridgeline players celebrate their win over Ogden in the 4A girls soccer state championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.
Ridgeline players celebrate their win over Ogden in the 4A girls soccer state championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SANDY — Ridgeline’s Adeline Fiefia’s simply did what her coaches have been telling her to do all year: follow the shot.

Through the first 20 games of the season, nothing had come of tactic, but in the 21st and final one, and on the biggest stage at Rio Tinto Stadium, the persistence paid off.

Fiefia tapped in a rebounded shot from just 3 yards out in the 76th minute as Ridgeline won a 3-2 thriller against Ogden to capture the 4A state championship on Friday afternoon.

Fiefia said her coaches are always telling her on set pieces to “follow the ball, and if it gets scrambled, just get any part of your body in to get it in the goal.”

Ridgeline coach Mark Tureson said that’s especially important when Oakley Rasmussen is knuckling free kicks at the keeper, which she did from 35 yards out on that scoring sequence.

“You never know how they’re going to handle it. I’ve been a goalkeeper and I hate those shots,” said Tureson.

After Rasmussen’s long-range shot was saved, Marley Guevara got her foot on the initial rebound but her point-blank shot was saved. Fiefia was there to tap in that second rebound in what proved to be the game-winner as Ridgeline killed off the final four minutes to claim its first girls soccer state title in school history.

“The best feeling of our entire life. It’s awesome,” said Fiefia.

Ridgeline lost to Ogden 2-1 in last year’s 4A title game, and that loss served as extra motivation heading into the title game rematch.

“To come here and leave without any regrets, because last year I felt like we all regretted the way we played and this year we came out and put everything out on the field and we’re leaving with no regrets,” said Fiefia.

The victory was Ridgeline’s 10th straight to end the season, and it snapped Ogden’s 16-game winning streak in the process.

“Ogden is a fantastic team, and if we’re going to win it I want to beat a team like them because they’re so good. They’re a well-coached team, one of the best teams we’ve played all year for sure,” said Tureson.

Watch replay: Ridgeline 3, Ogden 2

Ogden struck first Friday, with Tori Kalista cracking a shot from distance just under the cross bar for the 1-0 lead just four minutes in.

Guevara leveled the score in the 30th minute on a similar shot from distance and the teams headed into halftime tied 1-1.

Tureson said Guevara’s goal did wonders for his team’s confidence.

“We’ve been down before. We had to keep their energy up and as soon as they started getting into the rhythm of finding each other that grows their confidence. When we got that goal from Marly that just elevated that,” he said.

Ridgeline took the lead just seven minutes into the second half, the result of another knuckling free kick from Rasmussen. Ogden keeper Allison Collinwood got her fingertips on the 25-yard shot to push it up into the cross bar, but Tenzi Knowles was in perfect position to hammer home the rebound for the 2-1 lead.

With the pressure suddenly on the other foot, Ogden used a similar set piece chance to tie the game 2-2 in the 60th minute.

Adelyn Bower’s long-range free kick was too tough for Ridgeline’s keeper to corral, with the rebound trickling straight to Celine Buttars. Her initial shot was saved, but Kalista was there to clean it up for her second goal of the game.

Tureson said that going all the way back to last year’s championship game loss, his team has gotten better and better at handling late-game pressure situations. The experience allowed Ridgeline to handle the stress and anxiety of those final 20 minutes to find the winner and claim the title.