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Senior overcomes injury, lifts Lakers

WASHINGTON TERRACE — When she came to the sidelines with teary eyes and a pained expression on her face, it didn't seem like it would be Ellie Stimpson's day. The Bonneville senior was playing on a sore ankle and the strain of running around on it was beginning to show.

Stimpson subbed out about 10 minutes into the first half to give the ankle some much-needed rest. When she returned to the field a few minutes later, she put it to work.

Stimpson scored two first-half goals — in the 32nd and the 38th minute — to lift the Lakers past Provo 3-0 Tuesday afternoon in the first round of the 4A girls soccer tournament.

"She's a fighter and she's a senior," Bonneville coach Mike Hickman said. "I know she didn't want this to be her last game. She wasn't going to let that ankle keep her back."

Stimpson's two scores seemed to be just the shot in the arm sixth-ranked Bonneville needed. Prior to that point, the Lakers could get nothing churning on offense. Provo successfully shut down the usual passing lanes and, as a result, Bonneville ended up trying to force too many plays.

The Lakers were caught off-guard in the beginning by how much the Bulldogs made them work to create anything. That's why when they saw the score going into halftime, it felt like a major accomplishment.

"We hate scoring our goals last," Stimpson said. "We want to get an early lead and carry on through the rest of the game."

Stimpson felt some personal satisfaction in scoring her pair of first-half goals. For the senior, it felt like the answer to a mini-slump the offense had been going through in its last two games. The scoring opportunities were there. But the points on the scoreboard were not.

"Lately we haven't been able to finish those easy ones," Stimpson said. "We just wanted to get it done and show people that we actually could. We positioned ourselves well on those set plays and got a goal."

Freshman Avery Ford accounted for Bonneville's remaining goal when she headed the ball into the back of the net during the first minute of stoppage time in the second half.

By reaching the quarterfinal round, the Lakers have advanced farther than region nemesis Bountiful. The Braves, upset victims in a shootout loss to Olympus, handed the Lakers both of their regular-season setbacks.