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Sandy Journal

Jordan boys soccer finishes up-and-down season with first-round loss

Jun 04, 2024 02:55PM ● By Josh McFadden

The Jordan boys soccer team became a tight-knit group by the end of the season. The Beetdiggers finished tied for third in Region 10. (Photo courtesy of Scott Stevens Photography)

In reviewing the 2024 boys soccer season for Jordan, it’s easy to point out some highs and lows. 

Jordan finished the season 5-10 overall and went 5-5 in Region 10, tied for third place with two other teams. At times, the Beetdiggers struggled, while in other games, they looked like a different team. Much of the success happened at the end of the season, while the beginning resulted in some tough moments.

Head coach Justin Jahnke had some frustrating moments and some exciting ones guiding the team from the sidelines this season. 

“The season was a tale of two halves,” Jahnke said. “The first half was borderline shambolic. The second half was fantastic. When the boys played our game, it was beautiful to watch. It was fun to see them bond by the end of the season; I just wish it happened earlier.”

Jordan opened the season with four losses, including a heartbreaking shootout loss to Juan Diego on March 9. After seven games, Jordan was 1-6. Eleven games into the campaign, following a 3-2 loss to Hillcrest on April 24, the Beetdiggers were just 2-9. 

That’s when the Beetdiggers put together an impressive three-game winning streak to end the regular season. Jordan played well down the stretch, showing improvement and resilience. Jordan’s win streak comprised back-to-back-to-back 2-1 victories. The Beetdiggers, in succession, took down Stansbury, Tooele and Cottonwood April 26, May 1 and May 3. Jordan had the lead at halftime in all three contests. 

Even in defeat, Jordan was competitive in multiple losses. The Beetdiggers fell to league runner-up Murray 5-0 and to league champion Layton Christian 4-1 in consecutive games. Jordan also lost to Brighton in a nonregion game March 29 by the score of 4-1. But every other game was decided by no more than two goals. In addition to its shootout loss to Juan Diego, Jordan also lost three games by a single goal and three more by two goals. 

The Beetdiggers entered the Class 4A state tournament as the No. 19 seed and faced 14th-seeded Provo in the first round on the road May 10. Jordan fell behind 2-0 at halftime and couldn’t recover. Jason Benitez scored a second-half goal in a 3-1 season-ending defeat. 

Overall, Jahnke said the team surpassed some expectations and reached some goals. 

“My goal was to prove the writer at DesNews (Deseret News) wrong,” he said. “We’re constantly ranked last in the region and picked to finish low in the standings. The boys finished third in our region behind state finalist Murray and state semifinalist Layton Christian. I try to stay away from a number of wins as a goal. We got to playoffs; that was a big goal from missing out last season.”

Senior forward and midfielder Jessie Lorenzo was arguably the top performer on the team this season. He led the Beetdiggers in both goals and assists with seven and six. Ivan Canseco had five assists. Lizandi Gaona, a senior midfielder, had a pair of goals to go along with two assists. 

“[Lorenzo] and [Canseco] stood out the most,” Jahnke said. “Lorenzo is a four-year program player. I’ve watched him develop into a fantastic player. Canseco came to us as a sophomore, sitting out his first season. He acclimated well from junior to senior year.”

Senior goalkeeper Quinn Johnson also surprised Jahnke with his solid play. He stepped up and filled in for injured goalie Max Munoz, who missed a chunk of season after getting hurt. Freshman Mario Perez and junior David Rodriguez also improved as a defensive tandem toward the end of the season. 

“[Johnson] surprised me big time,” Jahnke said. “[Perez] and [Rodriguez] played great together the second half of the season.”

Expectations will be higher next season. 

Jordan has struggled the past few years, but Jahnke has high hopes and optimism for 2025, even though he has to replace some key players. Based on how the team finished this past season and who is coming back to the team, Jahnke believes his fifth year at the helm of the program could be one that sees it contend for a region title. He hopes to advance in the postseason too. 

“My expectation for next year is to compete with Murray to take the region,” he said. “Yes, we lose a lot of seniors, but most of the guys filling those spots were on varsity this year and have game experience and playoff experience now. I would love to get out of the first round of playoffs.”

Of course, meeting these objectives won’t happen without a lot of hard work. Jahnke wants to see his players come together as a more cohesive unit. 

“These guys need to start bonding now,” he said. “I encourage my boys to play club, and that has them travel all over the valley. I need them to remember their ‘home base’ is Jordan, and that bond should be unbreakable. If we had chemistry early in the season, it could have been a different story.”

Jahnke says goodbye to 13 seniors who gave it their all to the Jordan program. Next season, six key players will be back who got important time and experience this season. Between now and next March when the 2025 season kicks off, Jordan’s players will participate in club ball. Jahnke will also be looking to fill out the roster with newcomers and younger, up-and-coming players who can contribute to the program right away.  λ