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High school soccer: Dominance doesn't change for Bountiful

PARK CITY — There are some things that haven't changed for Bountiful.

True, the Braves are dealing with a new region alignment. And they are playing under a new head coach. But when it comes to facing off with other soccer teams, though, Bountiful remains its dominant self.

Park City learned that lesson the hard way on Tuesday afternoon. Bountiful lit up the Miners' defense for five second-half goals en route to a convincing 6-0 victory in the season-opener for both teams.

"We were just eager for the goals and eager for the win," senior forward Hannah Marble said. "It just started coming. We had really good crosses. We were putting the ball in the right place and finishing up those crosses."

No one proved more adept at finding the goal than Marble. She was responsible for the team's first two goals and notched a hat trick before game's end.

Marble's first goal came roughly 10 minutes into the match. After the ball was played to Alayna Eiting, she flipped it back around the defender and threaded it toward Marble. Park City goalkeeper Bethany Kanten came up to challenge and dived for the ball — leaving an open net. From there, it was a simple matter of Marble unleashing a shot and giving the Braves a quick 1-0 edge.

It was her second goal just after halftime that opened the floodgates. Once Marble gave Bountiful a 2-0 lead in the 49th minute, the Miners' defense melted like butter while attempting to absorb pressure from the Braves' forwards.

The Braves went up 3-0 in the 54th minute when Paige Hunt latched onto a poorly cleared ball in the middle of the penalty area and curled it inside the right post. They made it 4-0 during the 63rd minute when, starting near the midfield line, Felicia Sturgeon cut through multiple defenders and slotted a long ball past Kanten after she came out to challenge the senior. Marble added her third goal and Katerina Skedros put in another a few minutes later to make it 6-0 in the 69th minute.

"You don't know what you've got until you get that first game under your belt," Bountiful coach Lou Plank said. "Obviously, we're very pleased with the result. We've got a really talented bunch of girls here."

What pleased Plank the most is how well his players filled their roles on the field. The defenders stayed composed under pressure, the midfield controlled possession at crucial points in each half and the forwards were relentless in pushing the ball up field.

Ultimately, Plank credited his strikers with contributing the most to Park City's unraveling on the defensive end. "Our forwards have a real high work rate," Plank said. "They're real high-pressure (players). They win balls back. They crash. They follow shots."