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High school girls soccer: Farmington comes through when it matters most, defeats Viewmont in shootout

The Phoenix defeated the Vikings 1-1 (3-1), drawing even with their rivals in the Region 5 standings and keeping their region title hopes alive.

SHARE High school girls soccer: Farmington comes through when it matters most, defeats Viewmont in shootout

Farmington players swarm keeper Natalie Maire as they finish off Viewmont in Bountiful on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. The teams battled to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation play, but Farmington went on to advance with a 3-1 win in penalty kicks.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

BOUNTIFUL — Earlier this season on Aug. 25, the Farmington Phoenix hosted the rival Viewmont Vikings to open Region 5 play and lost 2-0.

Only a week ago on Sept. 15, Farmington hosted the Bonneville Lakers in a Region 5 contest with title implications and lost 2-1.

Those two losses stood as the Phoenix only two defeats this season heading into Tuesday afternoon’s rematch against Viewmont.

“They came out and they brought it. They did anything and everything to be able to win today. They did awesome.” — Farmington coach Sarah Beecher

What did those setbacks have in common? According to Farmington head coach Sarah Beecher, her team played nervous.

“We’ve been telling them, ‘Viewmont beat us once, Bonneville too, and we played nervous both times,’” she said. “When it really mattered for first place (in Region 5), we played nervous.”

There may still have been some nerves for the Phoenix Tuesday, at Viewmont High School.

After all, the Vikings came into the game ranked No. 2 in the 5A classification in the UHSAA RPI, behind only No. 1 Bonneville. Not only that, but Viewmont hadn’t allowed a goal in regulation or overtime in any of its six region contests this year. The Vikings had allowed only three goals all year, tied with Green Canyon — ranked No. 1 in 4A — for the fewest goals allowed by any team in the state.

Nerves would have been completely understandable. 

When the pressure was at its highest, though, Farmington showed little to no nerves at all and defeated Viewmont in penalty kicks 1-1 (3-1).

“We told them, ‘Hey, the pressure is on them (Viewmont). We still have a chance to go out and compete for that first (place) spot,’” said Beecher. “And they came out and they brought it. They did anything and everything to be able to win today. They did awesome.”

In the shootout it was goalkeeper Natalie Maire, forward Kalea Woodyatt, defensive back Makiya Christensen and midfielder/defensive back Rylee Gurney who came through for Farmington.

Maire saved one of four Viewmont shots and can be given credit for affecting two more, as only one Viewmont attempt in the shootout, courtesy of forward Emma Lindsey, found the back of the net.

“I played goalie and I said I’d rather be in there, but Nat came up big for us,” Beecher said. “Natalie just killed it. She owned that goal today.”

As for Woodyatt, Christensen and Gurney, they calmly and deftly converted their tries, blocking out the hostile crowd’s best attempts to fluster them.

“We’ve been practicing PK’s every day in practice, trying to make sure we were at our best,” explained Beecher. “We’ve yelled at each other, so (the crowd) didn’t hurt us at all. They were confident. You could see it in how they walked up.”

Getting to the shootout was a test in and of itself. For 100 minutes — 80 in regulation and 20 in overtime — Farmington faced the best that Viewmont had to offer.

The Vikings dominated possession for much of the game, particularly in the first half. Their midfield, led on this occasion by Brynn Rees and Megg Harrison, was especially effective, regaining possession over and over again.  

After a scoreless first half, the Phoenix adjusted by changing their formation, a shift that upset the Vikings enough for Woodyatt to give her team a 1-0 lead minutes into the second half.

“We decided after we played Viewmont earlier this year that (changing our formation) was something we needed to work with,” said Beecher. “It kind of confused them a little bit, which was good for us because they are great pressuring up high.”

Viewmont had an answer shortly thereafter though, courtesy of Kim Hendrickson, on a corner taken by Lindsey.

At times over the remaining 40 minutes of play, both sides had opportunities for a game-winning score, whether it be Marianne Barber’s shot that forced a diving save by Viewmont goalkeeper Lydia Pitt — she got a little bloodied up in the aftermath — or an attempt at a volley by Hendrickson where the ball missed her foot by mere inches.

When a final breakthrough was needed, though, there were the Phoenix, nerves nowhere to be seen.

“We told them to do everything they could to win,” said Beecher. “They brought it.”