The Timpview girls soccer team thrives on putting the pressure on.
During a game, you can see the Thunderbirds relentlessly hounding opposing players when they have the ball and using their speed and athleticism to get the ball deep in the opponent’s territory.
And then, there is their not-so-secret weapon: senior wing Abby King and her dynamic flip-throw-in ability.
“It is such a weapon,” Timpview head coach Eric Brady said. “As an opposing coach, I would hate that because it’s like giving up a corner kick on every throw-in on your end. She’s the best I’ve ever seen at it.”
King’s flip-throw ability paid huge dividends for the T’Birds during Tuesday’s 5A first round home game against Olympus when she fired the ball into the Titan penalty box midway through the first half.
The ball pinballed around before falling to sophomore midfielder Paige Haderlie, who rifled a screamer into the net to give Timpview what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
The Thunderbirds had to hold off a late Olympus charge, but they got the 2-1 win and advanced to the 5A quarterfinals on Thursday.
“I’m so proud of them,” Brady said. “One of our emphasis was winning the first 15 minutes. We talked about the nerves of state. We had only four starters back from last year and we have aggressive attackers, but in the last three games we haven’t started well. We’ve pushed too hard instead of working together and being poised. But we did that today and that was the difference. Olympus came in with typical nerves and we didn’t.”
Timpview started the scoring in the 12th minute when senior Alaina Pestana used her speed and foot skills to drive hard into the Titan box. When the defender stabbed to poke the ball away, she was charged with a foul and that gave the Thunderbirds a penalty kick.
Timpview senior Kathryn Wynn stepped up and confidently put it in to give the home team the early advantage.
Just six minutes later, King set the Thunderbirds up to get the 2-0 lead.
“I call those possession goals,” Brady said. “We had good possession and penetration, and we kept the ball in the attacking third. When you do that, good things happen.”
Timpview kept Olympus from getting any good looks in the first half but the Titans narrowed the gap early in the second half when they played a great cross to the back post and scored.
With just a one-goal lead, the Thunderbirds had to battle to keep the visitors from getting the equalizer and — although there were a few dangerous moments — ended up keeping Olympus at bay.
“I thought we responded well,” Brady said. “That can be dangerous, particularly the next five minutes. Instead of reeling, we possessed and penetrated to their back line. We didn’t give them a lot of opportunities and stayed pretty calm.”
Still, the relief was obvious when the final whistle blew.
“It was a nail-biter and it was extremely relieving when it was over,” Brady said. “I’ve been in so many games where with a 2-1 lead the other team scores. I wasn’t comfortable at all. It forced us to keep our best 11 in there but it was good for the team. If you are going to win to the championship, you have to know how to defend in the tough spots. If you have the lead, teams are going to press and press. You have to defend with heart and poise.
Timpview now moves on to host Region 8 No. 2 seed Skyridge on Thursday at 4 p.m. Brady said the Falcons are a team he knows well.
“That’s an interesting matchup,” he said. “We played them in the preseason and I watched them play Timpanogos twice. They present a unique challenge with their style of play. They are going to be hungry. They’ve had the best year they have ever had and they are a good team. They have solid players all around, so it’s going to be another nail-biter, I think we matchup well with them, but it’s definitely going to be a good game.”