The Pleasant Grove girls soccer team has had a very good week.
It started with a titanic showdown against then-undefeated American Fork in Pleasant Grove on Tuesday, a game the Vikings wanted to win really badly.
“We were so disappointed after the first time we played them.” Pleasant Grove head coach Bailey Bailey said. “We knew we were going to bring it to them when they played at our place.”
Although the Cavemen scored first, the Vikings answered with two goals and then held on for the 2-1 win to hand American Fork its first loss of the season.
“It was awesome,” Pleasant Grove senior midfielder Kenna Sparks said. “Honestly we felt on top of the world after that win. We’ve been on a high and were super-pumped up.”
The risk for the Vikings, however, was that they might suffer a letdown against on the road against a dangerous Westlake team on Thursday night.
“After the American Fork game, we were super-stoked,” Sparks said. “We want to win the rest of our games to stay where we are for the playoffs. But we didn’t play as well in the second half today.”
Fortunately for Pleasant Grove, the Vikings put away a pair of goals in the first half to build a lead and senior keeper Evy Brimhall was able to stop every Thunder attack until the final minute.
That meant Pleasant Grove was able to get its second 2-1 victory of the week to maintain its momentum.
“This wasn’t our best performance but it was good,” Bailey said. “A win is a win.”
Sparks got the goal in the 22nd minute that put the Vikings in front for good, getting a great pass from junior Emily Garbett to set her up.
“I was wide open,” Sparks said. “I knew it was right over the keeper.”
It was a fitting moment for Sparks, who Bailey said is one of the key players for Pleasant Grove.
“She is phenomenal,” Bailey said. “She got hurt last year and that was really hard for us. Having her healthy now is big. She is a facilitator who makes everyone else better.”
The Vikings got a couple of fortunate breaks six minutes later when senior Sadie Pollister lofted a long shot.
First it proved to be just barely high enough to go off the finger tips of the Westlake keeper, then it bounced just far enough to hit off the post and dribble into the net for the second goal of the game.
Thunder senior Emily Martin got the only goal of the night for Westlake, lofting a perfect shot with under 45 seconds left in the game.
That gave the Thunder a faint hope of a dramatic comeback, but the home team ran out of time to get another shot off.
With the two wins and losses by American Fork and Lone Peak, the trio of teams are sitting bunched near the top of the Region 4 standings.
“I love being in the top region,” Sparks said. “You know you are facing some of the top teams in the state.”
Pleasant Grove is peaking at the right time and playing some of its best soccer here near the end of the regular season.
“We are hyper-focused right now,” Bailey said. “We want to go really far at state, maybe all the way. We want to keep the big picture in mind but focus on one step at a time.”
Pleasant Grove (8-2-2, 5-2-1) next plays at Lone Peak on Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m., a game which will be for sole possession of second place in the region.
Westlake (5-7-1, 1-6-0) will look for a big win of its own when it hosts American Fork on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.