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Lone Peak, Orem advance to finals

Consistent Knights, less-than-consistent Tigers eye trophies

Orem players celebrate the late-match goal that sent Tuesday's semfinal against Mountain View into overtime. The Tigers won in OT.
Orem players celebrate the late-match goal that sent Tuesday's semfinal against Mountain View into overtime. The Tigers won in OT.
Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

If you want to see what consistency looks like, check out the Lone Peak girls soccer team. The Knights have won three straight region championships with a 29-1 record, and they just advanced to the 5A state finals for the third straight year.

Coach Mike LaHargoue had to replace almost a dozen seniors from last year's team, but Lone Peak has barely missed a beat.

"I'm just happy and proud of them," said LaHargoue after the Knights upset Brighton in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Getting to the championship game is one thing. Winning it is quite another, as Lone Peak has learned. In 2005 the Knights had a lead and were seconds away from the title when a controversial goal cost them the game. Last year they were simply overmatched in a 4-2 loss to Alta.

They'll play Alta again on Saturday. The game is already being billed as a David vs. Goliath match.

Alta isn't quite the same team as they were a year ago, but no one has been hotter. The Hawks have blitzed through the playoffs, outscoring its opponents 24-1. Kealia Ohai headlines the fast and devastating Alta lineup that no one has even touched in the tournament so far.

But make no mistake, Lone Peak has plenty of stones to sling. The Knights were the first team this year to put three goals on Brighton, and they won't be intimidated by the Hawks. After facing the same team last year, they know what to expect and will certainly believe they have a chance to win.

Shantel Flanary is one of the state's premier scorers, and she has all the support she needs around the field.

"A different outcome," said Flanary when asked what she would like to see on Saturday. "Last year we were up 2-0 and just kind of stopped playing."

Across the valley, three-time Region 7 champion Orem is getting ready to face Highland in the 4A championship. The Tigers have been building for this season for three years. It looked like the dream might slip away in the semifinals, but Orem rallied to beat rival Mountain View and looks like the favorite in the finals.

Kaitlyn Thomas may be the most valuable player in Utah Valley and has been the workhorse for most of the playoffs, but talented forward Anne Shallenberger has finally made her presence felt in the post season and is just one more weapon for Highland to deal with.

The Rams are the Cinderela story of the year, and Orem knows they can't start thinking about trophies just yet.

"We can't win individually," said Tigers' midfielder Ashley Kamoe. "We have to play as a team."

Orem coach Ed Louder has had the often frustrating job of trying to get the team to overcome its inconsistencies. A few times this year, the Tigers have simply not played very well. Motivation won't be a problem on Saturday, but focus might be.

"We've just got to come out and play a full game," said Louder. "If we get beat, we get beat. But I want to see us get beat playing the best we can."

The 5A finals will kick off Saturday at noon at Juan Diego Catholic High School. The 4A game will immediately follow at 2:30.