Can anyone have any doubts about the ability of the Maple Mountain girls soccer team to put the ball in the back of the net?
In the first four games, the Golden Eagles had scored 18 goals and added six more on Thursday in their 6-2 home win over Park City in Region 8 action.
“It’s really fun,” Maple Mountain senior midfielder/forward Paola Garcia said. “We have a lot of dynamic players up top, so it’s so fun to play off each other. I love attacking.”
The problem for the talented Golden Eagles has been at the other end of the field, where opponents have been able to find opportunities. Maple Mountain scored four goals against Syracuse and Springville — but lost both games.
Golden Eagle head coach Craig LaMont, however, thinks his squad is improving in that area.
“I think our defense is gelling,” he said. “One big problem was that one of our main center backs tore her ACL and that was tough. We didn’t have any players who had played center back and that has complicated the situation. We’re not there yet but we’re much better. I’m confident that we will get it.”
Against some solid Miner attackers, the Maple Mountain defense generally held its own.
Park City did score when a player got free deep in the Golden Eagle penalty box but the second Miner goal came off a free kick.
“Our defense stepped it up,” Garcia said. “I think that was our best defensive game. That defensive play then translates into how we play up top. We connected through the middle and were able to put the ball away when we needed to.”
Garcia, sophomore forward Allie Fryer and junior forward Kenlee Nelson all tallied a pair of goals in the game to give the Golden Eagles the comfortable margin of victory.
“We played well,” LaMont said. “Park City is a good team that is coached the right way. They only had three subs, however, so I think they got tired as the game wore on. Our offensive power keeps getting better, even though all we’ve worked on for the last three weeks is defense. We had a lot of opportunities today.”
Maple Mountain has now put together a pair of dominant wins after it suffered the two defeats and LaMont said the credit for the bounce-back performance goes to the attitude the team has developed.
“The only goal that the team wanted this year is to protect the team’s culture,” LaMont said. “They wanted that to be one of fun and complete unity and positiveness. It almost brings tears to the coach’s eyes because even when we lost, there was not a hint of depression or back-biting or negativity. It makes a big difference.”
Garcia explained that the girls have seen what can happen if they don’t stick together.
“We wanted to have a culture where we don’t give up and we are always there for each other,” the senior said. “Even in the losses or when someone scored first, we didn’t get down and we kept playing. This team has been really good at staying positive with each other on and off the field.”
The next test for Maple Mountain (3-2-0, 2-1-0) will come when the Golden Eagles host Wasatch on Aug. 27 in a game that is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. in Spanish Fork.