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High School boys soccer: Copper Hills holds on to edge region rival Bingham

SHARE High School boys soccer: Copper Hills holds on to edge region rival Bingham

SOUTH JORDAN — After dropping both of their matchups against Bingham last season and falling short to the Miners in the 5A semifinals the year before, Copper Hills was really looking forward to its first battle of the season against its region rival.

The Grizzlies strung together a full 80-minute match to get their sweet revenge with a huge, hard-fought 2-1 road victory over the Miners Tuesday afternoon at Bingham.

“The last three games we’ve played Bingham they have beaten us, so this has definitely been a game that we’ve really put on our calendar saying that we really want to win this one,” Copper Hills head coach Eddie Moura said. “It was just an all-around great team effort and we’re really happy to come away with this win.” Copper Hills (5-1-0, 1-1-0) wasted no time getting rolling and came out with urgency to put the home team on its heels.

The visitors’ leading scorer, senior forward Luis Vargas, came out firing and was able to draw first blood in the 15th minute when we cleaned up sophomore midfielder Tommy Merniez’s missed shot attempt to give his team an early 1-0 advantage.

“He’s just been someone who always brings his best for us — he makes us go,” Moura said of his star forward. “He was a little banged up today, but he told me there was no way he wasn’t going to play and he really gave it 100 percent for us.”

The Grizzlies really got after it on the defensive end and swarmed the Miners every time they touched the ball while sophomore goalkeeper Oliver Barrios came up with numerous key saves to help Copper Hills keep its 1-0 lead and all the momentum at the break.

The Grizzlies came out in the second half and picked up right where they left off to put all the pressure on the Miners.

Vargas continued his star-studded play and proved he is not just a one-dimensional player and scorer by putting his tremendous passing skills on display to help get his teammates more involved and extend his team’s lead.

“Today, I think more than any other day, I saw him be really unselfish. There were a few times where he had the shot and gave it up to another teammate who was in a better position, so I was just really proud of him,” Moura said.

In the 56th minute, Vargas sent a beautiful pass to the waiting feet of sophomore forward Jaden Paul, who then juked his defender, punched it across the box right past Bingham ‘keeper Cody Crossley and directly into the lower right-hand corner of the net to give Copper Hills a commanding 2-0 lead.

The Miners (6-2-0, 1-1-0) were finally able to find the back of the net and respond in the 76th minute off senior striker Gabe Altheman’s late goal.

Unfortunately for Bingham, it was too little, too late as the Grizzlies’ intense defense held strong and Barrios came up with several clutch saves down the stretch to help preserve the nail-biting 2-1 road victory.

“Oliver (Barrios) is a sophomore, so he came in last year as a freshman, and he has just really stepped up,” Moura said of his young ‘keeper. “He’s a kid that has great composure — it’s not easy to come in as a sophomore and come in and do what he’s doing. But he has the size and composure and he’s only going to get better.”

Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying strategic communications and has been a part-time sportswriter for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.

Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724

EMAIL: rlove@deseretnews.com