On the surface, the Lehi turf field just to the east of the school looks like many similar fields throughout Utah Valley.
It, of course, has Pioneer accents in the logo and end zones but the surface and dimensions are roughly identical to other turf fields.
But when the Lehi girls soccer team has stepped onto that field in 2019, it has become a different team.
“Everyone knows that when we step on this field, we are representing Lehi,” Pioneer junior forward Kennedi Schmidt said Tuesday night. “We go out and work hard for each other.”
Lehi entered Tuesday night’s Region 7 game against Mountain View with a perfect 5-0 record at home — but the Bruins had edged the Pioneers, 2-1 in overtime, in Orem earlier in the year.
Thanks to some brilliant goalkeeping by freshman Hayley Ogden and a splendid shot from Schmidt, Lehi stayed undefeated at home with a 1-0 win over the Bruins.
“The effort was there tonight,” Pioneer head coach Tim Graham said. “It wasn’t pretty all the time, but it was there. We made a big push to turn negatives to positives this week and focus on making the effort plays. That’s what we did the whole night. The girls had their minds right and gave everything they had.”
The key for Lehi to get on the board was to settle in and make good passes as the Pioneers moved the ball down the field into the attacking third.
“We were finally able to connect five passes together,” Schmidt said. “I got the ball and saw that their keeper was at the front post. I knew I could chip it over to the far post.”
Schmidt — a UNLV commit — did just that, lofting the ball from the right side of the penalty box up and nestling it into the back of the net for what turned out to be the game’s only official goal.
“That was Kennedi Schmidt scoring in pure Kennedi Schmidt fashion,” Graham said. “There is a reason she is a Division I commit. She just buried that shot. That thing was unbelievable.”
While that ended up being all the Pioneer defense would need to secure the win, there were some tense moments down the stretch as Mountain View desperately tried to rally for the equalizer.
The best chance for the Bruins came off a corner kick in the 77th minute as the ball dropped right into a crowd in front of the goal mouth.
Mountain View got enough on the ball to send it toward the goal but Ogden was able to come up with it. The Bruin players thought the ball had crossed the line but the referee never saw it go completely into the goal and Lehi remained in front.
“Hayley is a freshman and this was her second clean sheet,” Graham said. “She is just so calm. She kept everything together back there.”
The Pioneers said the win was a big one after a tough loss last week.
“The girls wanted to keep their home streak alive,” Graham said. “They beat us last time, so we were able to win one back. We had a rough go in the last game, so we needed this. The girls were able to show who they are.”
Lehi (7-5-0, 4-4-0) will try to elevate their road performance as the Pioneers play at Alta on Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m.
The Bruins (5-6-1, 4-5-0) will look to get back on track when they host Orem on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.