It’s tough to know precisely when the first goal of the 2020 Utah high school girls soccer season was scored — but someone would’ve had to have tallied one really quickly to beat the mark set by Springville junior wing Lox Neves.
Then her younger sister, freshman Sophie Neves, likely set the standard for the fastest second goal of the young season.
Thanks to the scoring of the Neves sisters, the Red Devil offense got off to a red-hot start Tuesday afternoon at home as Springville notched goals in the second minute and the fourth minute of action on their way to a 7-2 victory over visiting Mountain View.
“I thought we played exceptionally today,” Red Devil head coach Taylor Isom said. “We’ve only had five practices so we didn’t really know what we would put out there. I felt like our seniors really led our team. They ended last season on a sour note and came out strong today.”
It didn’t hurt to build a quick two-goal advantage.
Springville first scored on a set piece when Katie Anderson lofted a free kick into the Bruin penalty box. Lox Neves won the race to the ball and buried it to give the Red Devils the lead.
“That was pretty nice,” Lox Neves said. “It was a good feeling to see all the work I’ve put in pay off. We had the massive break this year and I feel like I used the time to grow.”
Only a couple of minutes later, Sophie Neves found herself with an opening near the top of the box on the right side and fired the ball across the goal inside the left post. It was a great way for a freshman to get her high school career started.
“I’m not usually a goal scorer,” Sophie Neves said. “I usually get more assists. It was nice to be able to go out and show what I can do for the team.”
The two Neves sisters are enjoying having the chance to play on the same team.
“It’s really fun,” Sophie Neves said. “I never get to play wIth her, so it’s nice to be out there together. Since I’m in the midfield and she’s on the wing, we can combine really well together. It’s nice to have her there for me.”
Lox Neves said that even though Sophie is younger, she admires how her sister plays soccer.
“I look up to her,” Lox Neves said. “She’s playing up and playing well. It was great to see her go out and score, then make a penalty kick. She’s really fun to play with.”
On the other bench, Mountain View head coach Shay Redding knew it was going to be tough for her Bruins after surrendering two goals so quickly.
“That certainly wasn’t the start we wanted, giving up two unfortunate goals,” Redding said. “Something I loved was that even though we got down, even in the last 20 minutes we were battling and outplaying the other team. We just had major breakdowns that came back to bite us.”
Springville extended their lead with a pair of goals late in the first half, then a fifth goal by Ashley Donahue in the 59th minute.
Mountain View got on the board with a couple of nice goals by junior Jenny Goodman in the final 10 minutes, giving the Bruins a tiny glimmer of hope to make a huge rally.
The Red Devils, however, snuffed that out with Sophie Neves’s penalty kick and a gorgeous cross that led to a goal by Hanah Cornaby to cap off the scoring.
“We did well out there,” Lox Neves said. “We haven’t played together before, so our combo play needs work and we can play better as a team. But this team is pretty fun to play with.”
Both teams saw plenty of things they want to work on but the biggest satisfaction was just getting to play after having so much uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We talk at each practice about how every day we get to be together is a gift,” Redding said. “There are a lot of teams across the country who are quarantining right now or not allowed to have their season. It’s a gift to play and that is more important than winning or losing. Our theme this year is to control the controllable because there are a lot of things that are out of our hands.”
Isom said she was thrilled to see her girls get to savor a victory to start the year.
“It’s huge,” Isom said. “We as a staff have hyped on wearing masks and sanitizing, doing everything we can to get our games in. We know we have to play every game like it is our last because we know it might be.”
Springville (1-0) faces a tough test when it plays at American Fork on Aug. 11 at 3:30 p.m., while Mountain View (0-1) will look to get its first win when it hosts Wasatch on Aug. 8 at 5 p.m.