The Timpanogos Timberwolves weathered constant pressure from the Alta Hawks and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 5A girls soccer playoffs by winning 3-2 on Tuesday.
Timpanogos made sure to make a statement early to get momentum on its side.
The Timberwolves came out swinging, with Summer Christensen scoring in the first four minutes of the game on a pass from Adele Faller.
Not long after that, Christensen followed up with another goal on a pass from Eleanor Haslam.
“No matter what happened we kept our heads up, which is something at the beginning of the season we struggled with,” Christensen said.
“If another team scored on us we would get down on ourselves, but everyone kept their heads up and kept working for each other and I think that’s what it came down to — the will to work for each other not just to win the game, but because we love each other as teammates.”
Timpanogos ended the half with a two-goal cushion over Alta, but the Hawks exuded constant pressure on the Timpanogos defense in the second half.
After just coming up short of a goal over and over, finally Macy Ellis found Elyse Jessen, narrowing the Timberwolves’ lead 2-1.
The moment did not last long for the Hawks, though, as Haslam broke away from the Alta defense to put Timpanogos up two goals once again.
Despite the deficit, Alta was determined to fight until the end, and to its credit, kept possession of the ball for nearly 15 straight minutes in the second half.
The Hawks’ efforts were rewarded with a goal from Ellis, who scored from roughly 30 yards out.
“I was really proud of how the girls came out in the game,” Timpanogos coach Robyn Bretzing said. “We were prepared and ready, we put some early goals in the back of the net, which I think was the difference in the game.
“The early goals really helped us get the momentum going in the first half. Coming into the second half we were dealing with some injured players and had to fill spots, but I thought the girls went in and played the best they could and played hard.”
Bretzing said the adjustments because of injury made things challenging, but she liked how her team ultimately responded to it.
“I think that messed up our chemistry a little bit having to take some key positions out, but I was proud of the way they didn’t cave,” she said. “I thought they held their own, I thought they made some crucial plays.
“Sometimes a win is not pretty, but a win is a win. You’ve got to give it to Alta, they’ve got a great team.”
With the score 2-3, Alta used nearly every weapon in its artillery to even up the score, but the Timpanogos defense did not allow it to happen.
The Timpanogos defense was anchored with a strong performance from goalkeeper Emma McIff, who saved numerous shots on goal.
With Tuesday’s win, Timpanogos advances to the quarterfinals, where it will face East.