On Tuesday, Aug. 28, Grand got off to a rough start, struggling to gain solid possession of the ball in the season opener against the Gunnison Lady Bulldogs. After the Lady Devils were penalized for being offsides, the Bulldogs managed to trap the ball and become the first to score.
But Gunnison’s tactics came back to bite them 10 minutes later when the Bulldogs received an offsides penalty of their own, allowing the Lady Devils to recapture the ball. Grand County High School senior Amanda Sheets managed to draw Gunnison’s goalie away from the box in a battle for the ball before kicking the ball into the unprotected net and tying the game at 1-1.
Less than five minutes later, Sheets caught another pass at the edge of the penalty box and knocked the ball into the top corner of the goal, just above the goalie’s head, netting Grand another point and putting the Lady Devils up 2-1 at halftime.
Play slowed down during the second half, with both teams struggling to perform as forcefully. However, when Gunnison fouled Grand in the penalty box, the Lady Devils had another opportunity to score. Senior Madie Camps took the penalty kick and drilled it into the back of the net, putting Grand in the lead 3-1.
But 10 minutes later, the Lady Bulldogs regained some steam and carried the ball up the field to score, making it a 3-2 game and putting Gunnison back in the contest. Still, the Lady Devils managed to shut Gunnison down for the remainder of the game, and walked off the field with a victory for Grand.
Later in the week, the Lady Devils traveled to play South Sevier on the Lady Rams’ home turf. Grand pulled away with another 3-2 victory, in spite of heavy rain and losing two key defensive players to injuries – sophomore Abbie Camps to a broken ankle, and junior Beilee Philibosian to a knee injury.
With the loss of those Lady Devil defenders, the Lady Rams proved to be something of a headache for Grand. South Sevier was the first to score in the match and blocked all of Grand’s attempts to put the ball into the net during the first half. The half ended with Grand behind 1-0.
During the beginning of the second half, the game continued to look bleak for the Lady Devils, as the Lady Rams succeeded in scoring again. However, the Lady Devils pulled their game together and Sheets scored two goals, followed by fellow senior Katy Miner, who scored a third to lead Grand to a powerful comeback, earning the Lady Devils their second victory of the season.
“I think for the start of the season, the games were pretty good,” said head coach Mike Camps. “We ended up losing two of our key center defenders to injuries – a broken ankle and a knee – but I guess that’s just the way it goes. I think that both games we played were competitive. That’s the thing about the teams in our region. I’d say they’re pretty well all competitive with one another. The season can go back and forth, which makes it a lot of fun for the girls, a lot of fun for the fans, and can make it pretty nerve-wracking for the coaches. Next week, we should have some good competitive games against Richfield and Manti, and then later we’ll have three home games to close out the season.”
The Lady Devils are next scheduled to play away at Richfield and Manti on Thursday, Sept. 6, and Tuesday, Sept. 11. Varsity play for both contests will begin at 4 pm, while junior varsity play will commence immediately after.