Rivalries are great. It's amazing what can happen when two schools have a fierce history of competition. The intensity can bring out both the best and the worst.
Coach Lee Mitchell of Alta said, "I don't care what the records are. That is just what the rivalry is, it's always a battle."
In the case of this match up the records were a big part of the game's storyline. The contest had all the accolades; No. 1 versus No. 2, the chance to be the last undefeated team in 5A, and not to mention the outright lead in Region 2. Wednesday afternoon, Alta and Brighton put on a wonderful display of soccer in their continued rivalry. The No. 1-ranked Hawks were able to hold off the No.2 -ranked Bengals 1-0.
"We knew they were pumped when the bus pulled up and the girls got off screaming and cheering. We have been working on getting off to a better start lately, and today it paid off," said Mitchell. The payoff was an early lead and a statement to the excited Bengals.
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Just five minutes into the opening half, the Hawks started a nice buildup from the midfield. As they attacked, the ball eventually found the feet of forward Allison Martino. She hammered a shot on goal that Brighton goalie Lindsey Foote deflected away. Fortunately for the Hawks, the ball deflected right to the path of Candace Gagon, who put the ball into the open net and the Bengals back on their heels.
For the duration of the contest, the defenses of both teams limited the number of quality chances. The play stayed mainly in the middle of the field. This is not to say the creativity and level of play necessary to score was not there, but that the defense was up to the challenge of every advance.
For Brighton, Ashlee Maughan anchored a back line that continuously swept up every through-ball and cleared away every cross that Alta pushed forward. "You have got to give their defense credit. I thought they played extremely well. They battled hard and didn't give us many opportunities,' said Mitchell of the Bengal defense.
The Hawks defense was just as daunting. The back line of Stephanie Staples, Karen Cook, Lisa Crump and sweeper Whitney Urrutia thwarted any attack the Bengals could muster.
"Our defense is solid. The four ladies back their did a terrific job. We have two regulars that are injured so our four starters had to play almost the entire game against a great Brighton team,' said Mitchell. The defense was good enough to pick up its fourth shutout in six games.
The victory sends the Hawks to a perfect 6-0 record and a one game lead against their region rivals from Brighton. The Bengals drop just one game behind at 5-1.
For fans of girls' soccer, there is a date on the calender that should be circled: Sept. 25 is when the two rivals match up again.
In other games Wednesday:
BINGHAM 9, HILLCREST 0:Jenny Ford, Alyssa VanderVeur, and Jenni Wright each contributed two goals as Bingham shuts out Hillcrest. Ali Griffin earned the shutout as goalkeeper.
ALTA 1, BRIGHTON 0:Candace Gagon scored the lone goal for the Hawks in this highly anticipated Region 2 matchup. Lindsey Tanner kept the Bengals scoreless all game as goalkeeper.
RIVERTON 1, COPPER HILLS 0:HeatherDahl fired the lone goal for Riverton as the Silverwolves narrowly escape with a victory against Copper Hills. Heather Godfrey earned the shutout as goalkeeper.
JORDAN 5, WEST JORDAN 0:Paige Collett scored two goals as the Beetdiggers put West Jordan away in the second half. Holly Davis and Cindy Woolsey split time as goalkeepers in the shutout.
HUNTER 10, GRANGER 1:Raisha Sweigart, Marene Gomez, and Heidi Jorgenson each had two goals as Hunter downs Granger solidly.
COTTONWOOD 5, TAYLORSVILLE 0:LindsayLauro scored three, giving herself a hat trick and the Colts a shutout win against an overmatched Taylorsville squad. MaryEartel notched a shutout in goal for Cottonwood.
SKYLINE 5, KEARNS 0:Shannon Larsen scored two goals in the second half to seal the deal against an outplayed Kearns squad. McCall Smith shutout the Cougars.
PINE VIEW 3, CANYON VIEW 2: Pine View came back after being down 2-1 at half to beat Canyon View 3-2.
DIXIE 3, CEDAR 0:Erin McClean scored two as Dixie blanks Cedar Wednesday 3-0. Kaciee McArthur earns the shutout for Dixie as goalkeeper.