Energy and determination: Salem Hills girls soccer beats Timpview in 5A first round
Salem Hills senior midfielder Kylee Carrick knew her Skyhawks were in a dangerous spot during Thursday’s 5A first round game at Timpview.
Yes, Salem Hills had the lead but an early two-goal advantage had been cut in half with 20 minutes left to play and the Thunderbirds were going to throw everything they had up the field in an attempt to get the equalizer.
Carrick had tallied the first two goals to put the Skyhawks on top, so it was only fitting for her to make one more key offensive play.
When the ball got crossed into the Timpview penalty box and started bouncing around, she kept after it relentlessly.
“Someone played it in and one of our players went for the header,” Carrick said. “It got away from the keeper and we just followed it in. I think our energy and following every ball really helped us.”
When the ball popped out near the goal line, Carrick’s effort paid off. She was in the right place to knock it into the goal and give Salem Hills an insurmountable advantage.
“She’s a holding midfielder, so she’s back with the defense as well,” Skyhawk head coach Lee Gillie said. “She covers a lot of ground. It was a great play all the way around.”
The Skyhawks held on the rest of the way as they got the 3-1 win over Timpview to advance to the second round and keep their season alive.
“It was an amazing game,” Gillie said. “They came out and played with heart and fight, and played for each other. They didn’t get rattled. They stayed composed and played as a team. It was beautiful.”
Carrick said she loved how her team approached the game.
“We really came out with a ton of energy,” the Salem Hills senior said. “We had really good hype from the bench. We really just came out and we wanted to win this game. I think we wanted it more. It was a good game.”
That aggressive mentality paid dividends quickly as Carrick was able to give her team the lead in the first 10 minutes with a long shot.
“Most of my goals this year have been shots from pretty far out,” Carrick said. “Just seeing that ball go over the goalies head really felt good, especially for the first goal.”
She doubled the tally a few minutes later when the Skyhawks made a nice play off a corner kick.
Carrick said having the two-goal lead was huge for Salem Hills.
“When you score two goals in the first 10 or 15 minutes, it really knocks them back,” Carrick said. “It was awesome for me. It felt really good as a senior to get those goals.”
On the other side, Timpview had some players hurt and struggled to find cohesion, particularly on the attack.
“We tried some different attackers trying to find some sort of breakthrough and balance, but it just didn’t happen,” Thunderbird head coach Stuart Clarke said. “.”
Timpview thought maybe it was setting itself up for a big comeback when the T’Birds drew a foul in the Salem Hills box and sophomore Sarah Oyler made the penalty kick.
But thanks to Carrick getting the hat trick, the Skyhawks were able to stay in front.
“The better team won today,” Clarke said. “We should’ve done better.”
He said that although it was an up-and-down year for Timpview, it was great to see his team when it was playing its best.
“It’s sad that the season is ending because we have so much potential,” Clarke said. “One minute we could beat anyone when it was our day but then the next we could lose to a team that wasn’t as good. We just didn’t have the consistency we needed.”
With the win, No. 18-seed Salem Hills advances to play at No. 2-seed Bonneville.
“Last year we went up there and we were nervous,” Gillie said. “We had our mistakes and they handled us. This is a measuring stick to see where we are at.”
Carrick said she’s looking forward to seeing the Skyhawks come out and give it everything they’ve got.
“We played Bonneville last year,” Carrick said. “Knowing how they play and knowing how we play. I think we can come out and get that first goal in the first 10 minutes and then just come out strong and with a lot of energy. If we do that, I think we could hold them.”
Salem Hills will go on the road to face the Lakers on Oct. 12 at 4 p.m.