Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Coach Lee Mitchell of Alta would agree: "We just got one lucky goal. I thought they played better than we did in the second half. They're awfully good, and we were a little lucky." The Hawks took their good fortune and carried it to a 1-0 victory over the Brighton Bengals.
Alta is not a team that needs much luck to get a victory. The Hawks have won 31 straight games counting back to last season. That streak, and the reputation they have built by being competitive year in and year out, has carried the team to a No. 4 ranking nationally according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Brighton gave the fourth ranked team in the country all it could handle.
The first half was an even contest. Both teams played at a level of intensity normally reserved for the playoffs. The quality of soccer was magnificent as each trap, pass and run into open space were executed at near perfection. The only things missing were goals. Quality chances were created by both teams, but without anyone putting the ball in the net.
The second half started much differently than the first. It took just 14 seconds for the Hawks to score. Katie Fellows deflected a clearing attempt straight to teammate Shaley Ipson at the 18-yard line. Ipson took advantage and drilled the ball past the keeper. Alta took the lead and turned the game over to its defense.
Sweeper Whitney Urrutia and stopper Stephanie Staples limited the amount of shots up the middle, and outside marking backs Karen Cook and Lisa Crump put pressure on every run for the Bengals' wings. Crump was particularly impressive taking everything out of the air whether it be on a long pass or a goalie's booming kick. Keeper Lindsey Tanner made several nice saves to keep her shutout.
The Bengals pressed everything forward the final 10 minutes and had four or five chances to score the equalizer. "We just need someone hungry to score a goal. We had the opportunities. It was just our finishing. Last time they shut us down, but today we had the shots. We just couldn't find the back of the net," said Brighton coach Amber Johnson.
Mitchell agreed: "We didn't adjust well after they moved up. I don't know if we let up, or Brighton picked it up, but they played very well."
Alta will go for win No. 32 in row Oct. 2 against Copper Hills. Brighton will need to regroup as it faces Riverton on the same date.
In other prep soccer action Thursday:
DAVIS 3, FREMONT 2:Shelli Gough continued to blister the nets with two goals against the Silverwolves. Megan Richins added a single goal as the Darts continue to lead Region 1.
LAYTON 2, NORTHRIDGE 1:Molli Neilson and Cassidy Williams scored one goal each to lift Layton over a tough Northridge team.
CLEARFIELD 2, VIEWMONT 1 (2OT): Viewmont was upset by a tough Clearfield squad yesterday in region play. Lyndze Lerohl scored the last goal in the second overtime for the Falcons.
BINGHAM 3, HILLCREST 2: The Miners used two goals from Alyssa Vanderveur and one from Jenni Wright to narrowly escape against the Huskies.
RIVERTON 4, COPPER HILLS 0: Riverton rolled to an easy win over Copper Hills with goals from Laura Decker, Bethany Matheson, and Stevie Reed.
JORDAN 6, WEST JORDAN 0: The Beetdiggers used goals from five different players to overcome a halftime tie. Jessie Rossi scored twice, and goalies Holly Davis and Cindy Wolsey shutout the Jaguars.
COTTONWOOD 11, GRANGER 0:Megan Ohai recorded a hat trick for Cottonwood in a blowout win over Granger. Mary Ertel earned the shutout as goalkeeper in the win.
TAYLORSVILLE 4, KEARNS 3 (2OT):Whitney Brown scored the final goal in double overtime for Taylorsville to lift the Warriors over Kearns.
MOUNTAIN CREST 2, LOGAN 1: Mountain Crest narrowly escaped with win over Logan in Region 4 play. Kim Crosbie and Megan Dunkley both scored for the Mustangs.
ROY 3, BONNEVILLE 1: Roy's goalkeeper, Abbi Call, played stellar defense in keeping Bonneville's shots out of the net in a big Region 4 win.
SKY VIEW 4, BOX ELDER 0:Hayley Hansen scored two for the Bobcats as they send Box Elder home in a shutout. Jamilin Anderson notched her seven shutout for Sky View.
OLYMPUS 4, CYPRUS 0: Olympus blanked Cyprus in a Region 5 matchup. Bailey O'Bagey earned the shutout as goalkeeper for the Titans.
WOODS CROSS 4, HIGHLAND 1:Kimly Anderson had two goals and twin sisters Abby and Kelly Robinson scored one goal each against Highland to improve to 9-3 in Region 5 play.
BOUNTIFUL 6, MURRAY 0:Shae Bryant, Danica Paul, Andra Hansen, and Rebecca Schmidt all scored for Bountiful in a Region 5 win over Murray. Kellie Allred earned her seventh shutout in eight games as goalkeeper for the Braves.
EAST 2, WEST 0:Kiersten Nilsson and Sarah Butler each scored once for the Leopords in their win over the rival Panthers.
PROVO 10, SPANISH FORK 0:Jana Davis notched six goals herself as Provo cruised against an overmatched Spanish Fork. Tamara Gordon led the goalkeepers in the shutout.
LONE PEAK 4, PLEASANT GROVE 0: The Knights used four first-half goals to coast to a victory over the Vikings. Shelby Anderson, Kelly Haycock, Kylee Olsen and Chelsea Arnell all found the net once.
LEHI 9, CARBON 0: Lehi's Breezy Chandler, Becky Pulham, and Aleisha Jex all scored two goals in a big win over Carbon. Beth Washington earned the shutout for the Pioneers.
HURRICANE 2, CANYON VIEW 1:Angel Prince and Marion Ebert each scored once for the Tigers as they beat the Falcons. Donielle Mucci scored in the loss.
CEDAR 2, SNOW CANYON 1: Freshman Sarah Nakken twice for the Warriors the second of which was the game winner with about five minutes to play.
PARK CITY 1, WASATCH 0:Mackenzie Flanders fired the lone goal for the Miners to eek out a win against a tough Wasatch team.
UINTAH 2, UNION 0:Breanna Hansen netted two goals for the Utes as they beat the Cougars in a Region 10 game.
BEAR RIVER 6, TOOELE 0:Melissa Anderson and Ashlee Woerner both fired in two goals for Bear River in a Region 11 matchup.
BEN LOMOND 5, GRANTSVILLE 0: Ben Lomond had five players score in a shutout win over Grantsville.
OGDEN 9, MORGAN 0:Shaylee Stegen and Summer Toupin each had a hat-trick for the Tigers. Keeper Erika Hunter shutout the Trojans.
ROWLAND HALL 9, SOUTH SUMMIT 2: Rowland Hall raced to a nine goal lead in the first half and never looked back as they defeated South Summit solidly.
JUAN DIEGO 3, WATERFORD 0: Juan Diego's defense proved key as the Soaring Eagle shutout Waterford who was previously unbeaten in Region 14 play. Morgan Dahlman blanked Waterford as goal keeper.