SPRINGVILLE — The Woods Cross Wildcats can say they had the perfect angle for a first-round upset.
The Wildcats knocked off Region 7 co-champion Springville 1-0 in the opening-round of the 4A girls soccer playoffs Tuesday thanks to a first-half goal by Cindy Ford, which came on a shot that had the perfect angle to get past Red Devils keeper Sadie Clemens.
That lone goal was able to hold up because the Red Devils failed to finish on several good chances to score — mainly because the Red Devils struggled to get off a clean kick, and when they did their shots didn't have a good angle.
"You have to have the ball bounce your way, and clearly we escaped a lot of their chances toward the end of the game," Woods Cross coach Kevin Rigby said.
Twice in the first half the Red Devils had breakaway chances to score and came up empty. The first came at the 20-minute mark when Rachel Fischer outran the defenders to take a long pass and head toward the goal. However, she lost her timing briefly and her shot just inside the box went right at Woods Cross goalie Taylor Bolding. A short time later Springville's Adrianna Tarin had a rebound come right back at her in the box, but her wide-open shot also was blasted right at the keeper.
After the Wildcats had an early shot by Morgan Brown glance off the post, they got another chance to break the scoring ice in the 35th minute. Taryn Rose took a pass just over midfield and fed Ford on the right wing. Ford, after one little tap to get around Springville's defender, let go with a powerful kick that sailed high over Clemens' head into the right side of the net.
Most of the pressure in the second half was applied by Springville, but to no avail. For a third time the Red Devils got an open look at the net, but again Bolding didn't have to move far to make the stop. At the 60th minute a rebound on another Springville shot came right back at Autumn Woods right in front of the goal, but as she tried to get off a quick kick with her left foot, the Wildcats' Amberdaun Biesinger kicked the ball away. At the 65th minute Springville had a corner kick, which resulted in a header attempt that went wide.
The best chance to send the game into overtime came in the final minute. A penalty gave the Red Devils a free kick about 10 yards in front of the box. Chase Joyner tapped the kick to the side and another pass had the ball right in front of the goal. But Woods slipped as she tried to tap in the ball from close range and the ball skidded to the side of the net.
"It was a wild finish with us desperately hanging on," Rigby said. "We gave up too many free kicks in those final two minutes, but some how we escaped."
Rigby credited his two senior midfielders for keeping the game's tempo in the Wildcats' favor as the difference in the game.
"That's what seniors are supposed to do. They're supposed to provide the leadership and lift up all of these younger players," he said.