Kearns wins first girls soccer title in 20 yearsOct 26, 2020 04:31PM ● By Greg James
In her fourth season as head coach, Jennasee Robison guided her team to its first title in a long time. (Photo courtesy of Kearns soccer.)
By Greg James | [email protected]
The Kearns girls soccer team overcame two big hurdles this season: defeating crosstown rival Hunter and winning a region championship.
“I was excited for the players; they have worked so hard.” Cougars girls soccer head coach Jennasee Robison said. “When I started here, I had four freshmen that are now seniors. There were seasons they were lucky to walk away with two wins.”
Their 12 wins this year matched the most wins in school history, and it was their first region championship in 20 years.
“We set in a new culture at Kearns,” Robison said. “They changed their attitude, and the players put an investment into the team. They can say that we are better than this and worth more than all of this. We are not the typical older Kearns team.”
The Cougars clinched the region title with a pair of wins over Hunter. On Sept. 10, they eked out a back-and-forth 2-1 victory. Surraya Moore found the back of the net in the first half, and after Hunter tied the game early in the second stanza, junior Elizabeth Napoles sealed the win. However, the region title came down to the last game of the season.
“The Hunter wins were probably the biggest wins,” Robison said. “We had a few other games we should have won, but against Hunter there was always fear that we needed to overcome. We were able to dominate them this season, and it felt good.”
Kearns claimed the championship with a 4-3 victory. Moore had two goals in the contest.
“I have had [Moore] since her freshman season, watching her grow on the field and as a person and leader,” Robison said. “She has very good foot skills, and she is an example to her teammates of how hard she is willing to work.”
Moore had 13 goals this season; juniors Stephanie Chavez had nine and Napoles had seven.
Sophomore goaltender Jaz Espinoza compiled four shutouts while earning a spot as the starting goalie.
“We have two goalies that could be the best in the region,” Robison said. “I had to find a place for both of them. She (Espinoza) had to build up trust within the team, and she had a quad injury all season. It did not stop her. She played hard for the team.”
Excitement at the school increased as the season progressed.
“They all started hearing that our team was really good,” Robison said. “As the final game neared the end, the football team descended on the field to celebrate with our team.”
The Utah High School Activities Association’s final rating performance index set the Cougars as the 10th seed in the state tournament. They lost 3-0 to Roy in the first round.
“The girls did not play the way we could have,” Robison said. “Roy really outworked us. It was hard to see after this season to have a letdown, but it is another part of the culture that we are working on changing. We are learning to work for our wins and believe that we are better than that. They have a bond that very few teams have. They have become a family that relies on and loves each other.”