A 13th straight shutout to help secure back-to-back state titles is something Mountain Crest coach Justin Beus is certainly not going to shy away from talking about.
“I’m super proud of these girls. They stepped up and they played hard today,” said Beus.
Then add to the fact that the stingy Mustang defense recorded 15 shutouts in 17 wins this season, didn’t allow a single 4A team to score on them and recorded identical 17-3 records in back-to-back championship seasons.
Is Mountain Crest the new dynasty in 4A soccer?
“We are just happy to be here,” said Beus. “We are fortunate to have done so well.”
Dynasty or not, it was Mountain Crest’s day Saturday as the Mustangs finished an incredible season with a 3-0 win over Snow Canyon.
It only took 46 seconds for the top-seeded Mustangs to make a mark on the match. Sophomore Hadli Barrera took the pass from fellow sophomore Addi Sofonia and slotted home the first goal of the game before some fans even had found their seats.
“Our goal was to go and score quick, and they literally did that,” Beus said through a chuckle.
Attention then turned to the Mountain Crest defense to help protect the lead. It wasn’t a big ask of the backline, which hadn’t given up a goal since August.
“Our defense is really good, so I wasn’t worried about losing the streak,” Barrera said. “Our defense knows how to defend.”
In the 16th minute, Snow Canyon looked as if it had done what so many couldn’t, find the back of the net against the Mustangs.
Mountain Crest keeper Hadlee Glenn came off her line and missed the ball, leaving the goal wide open for a Snow Canyon score, but as the Warrior sideline cheered, the line judge lifted his flag and pointed across the field.
The offside call swiped the goal off the board and drew a collective sigh of relief from the home sideline.
With the first half winding down, it was Barrera once again for the Mustangs. She took the ball on the left side of the pitch, dribbled in towards mid-field, got past two defenders and fired a left-footed shot into the upper corner of the goal.
Snow Canyon keeper Torrey Martin stretched out for the save, but the ball was just out of reach, and Mountain Crest took a commanding 2-0 lead into the half.
“I just saw an opening so I took. It felt pretty good,” said Barrera. “I did feel like it came off my foot a little bit weird, but it still went in.”
Said Beus: “Hadlie is a phenomenal player. She does that kind of stuff every day at practice. It was awesome to see her do it on the field and on that stage.”
Rather than sit back and defend for the second half, the Mustangs brought the energy. Senior Andie Andrus fired a laser in the 47th minute that bounced off the crossbar, just missing giving the Mustangs another goal.
“I wanted one so bad,” said Andrus. “Scoring is an indescribable feeling and it was the last game, the championship game, and I wanted it so bad.”
Eight minutes later, senior Brynleigh Ritchie lined up a shot that scampered through the defense and under the Warrior keeper’s dive to put Mountain Crest in full control.
“I love this team. There was no doubt that we were taking state. No doubt in my mind,” said Andrus.
It’s been quite the run for the 11 seniors who capped their high school careers with back-to-back state titles. A combined 34-6 record over the past two years and domination throughout this year’s state tournament will be something they don’t soon forget.
“I am just happy that we took it again. There is nothing that I regret about this season,” said the senior leader Andrus.
Her head coach agrees.
“There are so many other good teams and schools out there so it’s tough,” Beus said. “We are just honestly happy to be 1-0 at the end of the day today.”