Lone Peak girls soccer quick strike enough to hold off Skyridge
A little extra wind … a fortunate bounce … and then one stellar strike.
That was the sequence that turned out to determine the big Region 3 girls soccer battle in Lehi as undefeated Lone Peak held off Skyridge, 3-1.
In the first 50 minutes of action, the Falcons hit the post and the Knights had a couple of good shots sail wide but no one could get the ball into the net.
But that changed quickly when Lone Peak junior Bella Devey got fouled about 25 yards from the Skyridge goal.
She lined up a high free kick to drop in the middle of the Falcon box, but a Skyridge defender was in good position to head the ball away.
The gusty wind, however, made have made its presence felt as the kick sailed just longer than the defender anticipated. It glanced off her head at an unexpected angle, ending up going across the Falcon goal line for the first score of the game.
The visitors sensed an opportunity as Skyridge was a little deflated at that point and the Knights attacked.
Less than a minute later, Lone Peak sophomore Ivy Harding got the ball deep into Falcon territory, then dished it to junior Samantha Sellers.
Sellers struck it cleanly toward the far post, just getting it past the lunging Skyridge keeper to hit the netting.
“You need to keep creating chances in a hard game like this,” Sellers said. “That’s what was going to put us ahead. It’s the best feeling ever to see it go in and you see your whole team jump up. They are so excited and you are up 2-0 against a really good team, it’s such a good feeling.”
Knight head coach Shantel Jolley said Harding and Sellers were doing exactly what her team is instructed to do.
“What you always talk about in soccer is how goals are scored in the first five minutes, the last five minutes and within five of scoring,” Jolley said. “It’s always a push for us after we score one to not be content, to be better after that. They came back and got a second.”
Falcon head coach Toby Peterson admitted that was a tough position for his team to be in, but he was proud of how they responded.
“It can be demoralizing really fast,” Peterson said. “You are thinking you’ve got it and then all of a sudden you are down two. But these girls don’t quit. They fought through some injuries but they fought through to the last minute. I think their grit is what allowed them to stay in it.”
Nearly 20 minutes later, it was Skyridge’s turn to get a fortunate bounce when a ball got kicked and ricocheted off a Lone Peak defender’s hand.
That earned the Falcons a penalty kick and Skyridge sophomore Allison Beard was able to slip it past the Knight keeper to cut the deficit in half.
Lone Peak tried to kill most of the rest of the time, but the Falcons did earn a corner kick in the final 30 seconds and got one final opportunity to tie. The last shot sailed high, however, and the Knights got the win.
“We knew that today was going to be tough,” Jolley said. “Essentially the region title was on the line, so we knew it wasn’t going to be a 3-0 game by any means. The wind made a difference and we didn’t look as good as we would hope, but it helped us in the second half. Once we got it, I felt we were going to get a couple. Two was enough for today.”
Sellers said that everyone knew this was a big game, another steppingstone toward the team’s goals.
“We battled the whole time,” Sellers said. “It was a battle the whole game but I think we came out and played really well. We are undefeated in region and our goal is to go win state.”
Jolley said she likes where her team is at but also feels it’s improving.
“I feel like in the past we have peaked too soon, but I don’t think we have reached the peak of our potential this year,” Jolley said. “We definitely have things to work on. It’s good to know we can get better than where we already are.”
Lone Peak (13-1) next plays at Pleasant Grove on Tuesday while Skyridge (8-5) plays at Lehi the same day.
Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.