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The City Journals

Grizzlies finish runners-up in boys soccer

Jul 03, 2019 03:42PM ● By Greg James

The Grizzlies’ soccer team celebrates it semifinal victory over Granger and its first appearance in the state championship game. (Photo courtesy of Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Greg James |  [email protected] 

The Grizzlies have been arguably one of the best soccer teams in the state and finally played in a championship match.

They have won at least 10 games every season since 2009. With that success, they have earned a playoff berth in every one of those seasons, only to fall short of playing in the semifinal match.

This season, that changed.

The 2019 Copper Hills playoffs included three overtime games. Its final one earned the team a spot in the championship match. A 2-1 victory May 21 in the 6A semifinals over Granger lifted the Grizzlies to the championship round and put them into what they called “a dream match,” their first-ever state championship game.

Junior Jeremey Slick netted the overtime game-winner for the Grizzlies against Granger. The Grizzlies dominate the first half, possessing the ball a majority of the time.  Granger scored the first goal off a free kick, but the Grizzlies fought back to force overtime.

“We practiced for this stuff,” Copper Hills head coach Eddie Moura said. “For the last month, we have worked on penalty kicks. We sat down with the kids and told them, ‘Hey this team is very, very talented, and it would be a shame for you not to put in the effort every game.’” 

In their first-ever state title match appearance, they lost 1-0 to Weber. The second-half goal lifted the Warriors to their first state title in 15 years. Copper Hills did not give up. They forced the Warrior goalkeeper to make save after save, including one in the final minute to preserve the victory.

The 6A tournament started with a 2-1 overtime victory over Clearfield. Senior Jon Castro scored both goals for the Grizzlies. Their overtime win marked the first of three for them in the postseason.

In the second round, they faced Lone Peak and won 2-1, also in overtime before matching up with Granger.

“The first round was overtime, the second overtime and now this one too,” Moura said. “The kids didn’t care; they wanted this really bad. The chance to play at Rio Tinto [Stadium] is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Copper Hills won the Region 3 championship with a 6-2 record. Its only losses came by one goal each to Herriman and Taylorsville. Overall this season, the Grizzlies lost five matches. 

Kevin Lopez led the team with 13 goals; Castro was second with 12. Senior Brayden Terry had six shutouts in goal. Slick had nine goals, and senior Gianmarko Robles had eight for the Grizzlies.