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High school soccer: Early goal helps Skyline edge Brighton in 5A playoffs

MILLCREEK — Skyline got off to a dream start with an early goal in Tuesday’s 5A first round game, and its defense did the rest.

Skyline stifled Brighton’s attack throughout as Ani Jensen’s fourth-minute goal was all the scoring it needed to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory.

The Eagles will next travel to Region 5 champion Viewmont, which beat Springville in a high-scoring 4-3 game.

“I think a lot of people have doubted us because of our loss at the beginning the season, but I think we’ve overcome all those doubts, and I think everyone is underestimating us,” said Jensen, who’s scored 10 goals this season.

Her latest goal came on a corner kick within a few minutes of the opening whistle. Brighton had a chance to clear away Sidney Groebs’s bouncing corner kick, but the ball seemed to skim awkwardly past a defender and straight to Jensen, who volleyed it home with right foot for the 1-0 lead.

“She’s scored about four to five goals on corners this season; she seems to kind of smell where the ball is going,” said Skyline coach Yamil Castillo.

The remainder of the first half was played fairly evenly, with both teams creating a handful of chances. The best chance came just seconds before halftime when Brighton’s Sage Stott uncorked a shot from the top of the box that rattled off the crossbar.

Skyline pushed aggressively for an insurance goal early in the second half, and even though it had some near misses on the end of a few crosses, Castillo was pleased with the build up.

“As we get forward we’re starting to learn to get more comfortable and trust in each other,” he said.

Castillo credited midfielders Savannah Deaver and Jayda Masina for controlling the flow of the game and limiting Brighton’s opportunities to build out with possession.

“We knew who to mark and who their players were, and we were able to control their charge every single time,” said Castillo.

Brighton leading scorer Kaitlyn Conley, who’s scored 23 goals this season, was marked tightly by Skyline’s defenders all game. She still occasionally was able to find some space and nearly pulled off an equalizer in the 70th minute on a slight breakaway opportunity.

Skyline keeper Lucy Peterson came charging off her line as soon as she saw the through ball headed her direction, and even though Conley got there first and got a quick shot off, Peterson was directly in front of her and made the reactionary save to preserve the lead.