Murray soccer repeats as region champsJul 03, 2023 12:32PM ● By Travis Barton
Senior Dallin Mabey, who also played hockey for Murray, was a constant thorn in the side of its opponents this season. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
For senior night, and with the Region 6 title on the line, it made sense for two seniors to help break the deadlock.
With the game scoreless between Murray and Park City in the early stages of the second half, it was a nicely worked combination down the right that ended with Dallin Mabey flicking the ball through to Colton Boyd for a side-footed finish that would prove the game winner.
Mateus Rameuldo would later unleash a screamer into the side netting to make it 2-0 with 11 minutes to play sending the Spartan bench and crowd into euphoria, with fans later rushing the field as time expired.
The win meant the Murray boys soccer team repeated as region champs.
“Awesome,” said head coach Bryan DeMann of how he felt after the win. “It’s cool to see the guys win it here with their friends, that’s awful neat to see everyone running out on the field.”
After a first half where the Spartans peppered the Park City goal dangerous chances, Spartan DeMann said there weren’t many adjustments to make for the second half.
“We talked about staying aggressive, reminded them that our strength is moving the ball,” he said. “We tried to take advantage of the fact Park City had a make-up game last night that we didn’t. We felt it was imperative to keep moving the ball. The more they had to move, the more they had to adjust, the more it was to our advantage.”
Murray started the game well, controlling the rhythm with its smooth possession and players interchanging all over the field. The right back Boyd made several forays forward resulting in dangerous opportunities for Mabey and Rameuldo. Freshman Carlos Nieto-Rosales had a dangerous chance as well with Park City keeper Tommy Manwaring up to the task every time.
The second half saw Murray increase its tempo as its ball movement, the team’s calling card, began to ask more questions of the Miner defense with quicker combinations centrally as well as more diagonals behind the Park City backline.
“We had to play really well cause Park City is a good team, that’s a good team. They don’t get scored on very much,” DeMann said. “The pressure they absorb is evident of the type of team they were so I’m extra proud of my boys that they just kept at it.”
The breakthrough came in the 55th minute as Boyd continued his run forward, Mabey’s one-touch decision released Boyd into space for the senior to slot home.
“The boys move the ball well, they’re unselfish, they’re not worried about whose dribbling through where for the score. They pass to each other and kept at it and got us a couple,” DeMann said.
While the midfield controlled the tempo, and the backline marshalled any Miner attack (notably by freshman center back Axel Lopez), DeMann pointed to the forwards unselfishness in their press in helping keep the game played in their attacking half.
“Which is what I think was the real key, when the ball’s on this half of the field it makes it a whole lot easier,” he said.
Victory meant the Spartans survived a grueling region slate to emerge as champions. Murray beat Park City twice, who beat Skyline twice, who beat the Spartans twice.
“I’m super proud of that because it’s a tough region all the way up and down,” DeMann said.
It was Murray’s last year in this current region as it transitions to 4A next year with nearby schools Jordan, Hillcrest and Cottonwood in addition to Park City, Tooele and Stansbury.
Due to weather and perhaps Murray’s location farther away from the benches, the Spartans played almost every home game through the first round of region since its field was clear. Senior night was the team’s only home game in the second round of region.
“Another fun thing the boys had to work through,” DeMann said.
Murray earned the No. 6 seed and a first-round bye for the 5A state playoffs where the Spartans would go on to defeat Bountiful in the second round via a shootout at home after tying in regulation 1-1.
The quarterfinals saw the Spartans travel to defending champs Alta where despite dictating the tempo for most of the game, couldn’t find a goal when it mattered and fell 1-0. Alta scored in the 20th minute, but Murray carried the run of play for the rest of the game having two back-to-back shots saved and two free kicks rattle the crossbar—including one by Nieto Rosales in the final minute.
Despite a large senior class departing, the Spartans will have eight returning contributors (three juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen) many of whom were starters like Lopez or sophomore center mids Preston Lawson and Jason Adams.
“We got some good boys coming back,” DeMann said. λ