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Defense lifts Miners, Hawks to final

Anyone who has been following the Bingham Miners soccer team this season would recognize a winning blueprint. Forwards Alyssa VanderVeur and Jenny Ford score goals, and the defense and goalkeeper Ali Griffin shut teams down.

Friday's semifinal followed that pattern perfectly as Bingham advanced to the 5A state finals by beating Weber 2-0 at Cottonwood High.

Although the team's pattern has been the forwards scoring and the defense holding the other team scoreless, coach Trisha Roberts says it is a true team effort, and that the play of the midfielders may be the key to the whole efficiency of the Miners.

"My midfielders distribute the ball and keep things going," she said. "If they don't come to play then the defense is off in its timing and the forwards don't get the ball where they need it. It is crucial for them to play their game."

Luckily for the Miners, the midfielders of Alyssa Anglin, Megan Berrett, Carly Kallas and Jenni Wright came to play. The group moved the ball well and got the ball to the returning all-state forwards of VanderVeur and Ford. It did, however, take nearly all of the first half before the team could capitalize.

In the 35th minute Ford took a cross from defender Teresa Holt that slipped past a couple of Weber defenders, and she put the ball in the net from only six yards out.

"It is really not that hard to score goals when your teammates give you the ball in perfect spots," Ford said.

Only three minutes later, VanderVeur joined her teammate in the scoring column. She collected a long ball sent through by Kallas and streaked by the defense before blasting a shot from 25 yards into the back of the net.

"They knew it was time to make a statement," said Roberts of the last couple of minutes of the half. "It sends a statement to close like that."

Those final few minutes of the half determined the outcome of the game because the defense continued its stellar play in the second period. Beth Clifford swept up everything that came through the back line, and Ali Griffin did not allow a goal for the third-straight playoff game.

"I have never seen a group of players that complements each other so well," said Roberts. "This year they knew what they had to do to get the job done to get back to the finals."

The Miners will face Alta today in the finals after the Hawks advanced by beating Davis. The game will be at 2 p.m. at Cottonwood High School.

ALTA 2, DAVIS 0: The Hawks' defense again stepped up big as Alta defeated Davis 2-0 in the second semifinal of the state 5A playoffs.

With goalie Lynzee Lee in the net, sweeper Alyssa Lowry, stopper Nicole Urry and outside defenders Lisa Crump and Karen Cook, Alta has yet to give up a playoff goal. In Friday's semifinal against Davis, the Hawks did not even give up a good look at the net. The defense kept the Darts from stringing together any passes and limited them to taking shots from long range.

While the defense did its job, the Alta offense did just enough. In the fourth minute, Katie Larkin took the ball along the left wing. She beat two defenders and slipped a ball to the middle to the feet of Shaley Ipson, where the forward hammered the ball past the keeper.

In the 73rd minute, Hailey DeYoung and Whitney Feller played give-and-go through the Davis defense before DeYoung found Larkin wide-open on the left side of the goal mouth. Larkin finished the play for her 34th goal on the season and sixth in three playoff games.