Close call: Lone Peak girls soccer gets the breaks, beats AF in 6A second round
Athletes in every sport know that the margin between victory and defeat can come down to a few inches.
The No. 1-seeded Lone Peak and No. 17-seeded American Fork girls soccer teams certainly had it re-emphasized during Tuesday afternoon’s 6A second round battle in Highland.
If one of the Knight players had been just a few inches out on one play or one of the Caveman players had been just a few inches back on another, Lone Peak might not have pulled off the 1-0 victory.
“That’s the playoffs for you,” Knight head coach Shantel Jolley said. “As always, no matter who your opponent is it is always tough. Having it be someone in your region makes it even tougher and then to have it be American Fork is even tougher on top of that. It was just grind it out until the end.”
Lone Peak proved to be the aggressors for more of the match and that paid dividends in the play that resulted in the only goal.
It came in the 16th minute when Knight senior forward Sayler Schlosser got the ball and made a move toward the end line. The Caveman defense converged just a bit too quickly and Schlosser was fouled.
The location of the foul, however, was what made all the difference. She was right on the edge of the American Fork penalty box but was clearly inside it, which resulted in Lone Peak being awarded a penalty kick.
Knight senior midfielder Lacy Fox stepped up to take the shot in a critical moment of the game. A goal would give the home team the advantage, while getting stopped would be a huge boost for the Cavemen.
In that moment, however, Fox said she didn’t think about the gravity of the situation.
“It’s a lot of pressure when you think about it — but when I took it I didn’t think about it,” Fox said. “I just thought about what I did in practice and went through my routine.”
Fox got the result Lone Peak wanted as she slotted the ball home to put her team in front.
“Getting that goal was huge,” Jolley said. “The difference in most playoff games is often just a goal. Just to get one most of the time you hope is enough.”
It nearly wasn’t thanks to a well-placed free kick by the upset-minded Cavemen midway through the second half.
American Fork lofted the ball in perfectly and it was redirected into the net for what appeared to be an equalizer. But a Caveman player was offsides, likely by just a foot or two, resulting in the goal being nullified.
“It sucks that we had a goal taken away again in the playoffs but we kept fighting,” American Fork head coach Derek Dunn said. “We’re a young team but we have fought all year.”
While the Knight offense wasn’t able to crack the Caveman defense again, the visitors also couldn’t find a way to break through and Lone Peak got the win.
“We got out there and it all came down to effort,” Fox said. “The weather wasn’t perfect but we both had to play in it. They had nothing to lose and we had the target on our back, plus it’s hard to play a team three times. But it was just another test to see how we would step up.”
Dunn said he was pleased with the growth he saw from his team and looks forward to continuing to improve next year.
“You need experience,” Dunn said. “You need these kinds of things to happen so they can keep moving forward, so they know how it feels. It’s what it takes to keep moving forward to become the team we know that we are. We’re going to be a force to be reckoned with, I promise.”
Lone Peak now moves on to host No. 8-seed Syracuse (who defeated Roy) in the 6A quarterfinals, which is scheduled to take place in Highland on Thursday at 4 p.m.
Soccer Playoff Scoreboard
Class 6A second round
Lone Peak 1, American Fork 0
Skyridge 8, Kearns 0
Davis 3, Westlake 0
Pleasant Grove 1, Farmington 0
Class 5A second round
Cedar Valley vs. East
Lehi 2, Woods Cross 0
Bonneville 2, Salem Hills 0
Maple Mountain 1, Alta 1 (MM wins 4-3 in PKs)
Timpanogos 3, Viewmont 0