Samantha Meyers scored two goals Thursday to lead Spring Valley’s girls soccer team to its first state tournament appearance with a 3-1 win over Cheyenne in a Division I-A Southern Region semifinal at Bettye Wilson Park.
The Grizzlies (12-3-3), the No. 2 seed from the Sunset League, will play Sunset champion Faith Lutheran (17-6-3) at noon Saturday at Bettye Wilson Park for the region title. Both teams advance to next week’s state tournament. Faith Lutheran moved into the final with a 3-1 win over Clark.
“It feels really good. I’m really excited,” Meyers said. “I don’t remember much about the goals. I had so much adrenaline. I don’t even remember getting them in. I’m just so happy we scored. We played a really intense game tonight.”
Coach Yamilza Rivera said this team made a commitment to move on after last year’s disappointing loss to Sierra Vista in the region semifinals.
“These girls had a fantastic season,” she said. “We’ve been working toward this. We were in the same position last year, and we lost to Sierra Vista in the last seven minutes of the game, so it has been a goal of ours to get back here and to actually win this game so that we can make it in to state. The whole offseason, all this season this has been our goal.”
Spring Valley scored first when Savannah Villanueva connected on a penalty kick at the 15-minute mark.
Meyers then scored the first of her two goals at the 30-minute mark to push the lead to 2-0 at halftime.
The Grizzlies kept up the offensive pressure in the second half, and Meyers again found the net at the 55-minute mark to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Grizzlies kept the offensive pressure on the Desert Shields (9-7-2) with their team speed, outracing the Cheyenne defenders to nearly every loose ball. Meyers was routinely beating her defender to the ball and into open space.
“We try to utilize and play toward our strengths,” Rivera said. “One of those things is our speed up top, and so one of our goals is to put a lot of pressure on their defense by playing through balls to our forwards who have a lot of speed. We’ve been really successful this year using that.
Cheyenne finally got on the board when Girly Tambeagbor scored with five minutes to play. The Desert Shields had another opportunity moments later, but Tambeagbor’s shot hooked left.
Faith Lutheran 3, Clark 1 — Megan Donnelly had a goal and an assist, and the Crusaders scored twice in the second half to break a 1-1 tie and down the Chargers (14-8-1).
Kristi Chinn and Maggie Shuirman also scored for Faith Lutheran.
Darian Gambetta scored the Chargers goal.
“We know what we have to do against Spring Valley,” Faith Lutheran coach Steve Morrill said. “That will also be another tough battle because they are a really good team. I like what we are doing, and I’m really proud of these girls. They fought through a lot of adversity tonight especially at beginning of the second half. They lost their composure a little bit, but they got it back.”