There’s something about a penalty kick shootout that brings out the best in Alta keeper Thiago Moreira.

Moreira was the hero of Alta’s state championship run two years ago when, as a sophomore, he saved three PKs in both the semis and final.

On Tuesday, in the Hawks’ first shootout since then, he was equal to the challenge again.

Moreira came up with two saves as Alta edged Brighton 7-6 in a shootout that went to the ninth shooter as the Hawks improved to 7-0 on the season in the first region showdown between the rivals since the 2019 season.

“I just have this confidence ever since those (playoff) games. My faith in myself has skyrocketed. Every time I got out, I say ‘I’ve done this before so what’s stopping me from doing it again,’” said Moreira.

Josh Glazier, Ashton VandenBerg, Justin Roberts, Logan Kunz, JT Orr, Jackson Lo and Ty Dutcher were successful in the shootout for Alta, with Dutcher delivering the winning penalty as he was then swarmed by teammates and Alta students who celebrated the win after regulation and overtime ended 1-1.

Alta coach Mackenzie Hyer, who coached her 100th boys soccer game on Tuesday, said she was pleased with the poise her players showed in making 7 of 9 penalties.

“We practice penalty kicks all the time. In practice I mark who’s making, who’s missing, so we’re doing it all the time, so then when they’re out there, hopefully it is the same to them, there’s nothing new about it,” said Hyer.

Alta’s coach wasn’t sure what to expect from Tuesday’s match as both teams were coming off spring break and had only resumed practice the day before.

The Hawks didn’t show any rust in the opening minutes, seizing the lead in the eighth minute as Glazier tapped in a pass from Roberts, who dribbled to the end line and then cut a pass back to the 6-yard box.

Alta had chances to double the advantage on several occasions, but Brighton keeper Lawson Smith came up huge multiple times to keep it one-goal game.

In the 71st minute, Brighton eventually equalized as Drake Fletcher slotted a pass from Jackson Loveland past the diving Moreira, tying the game 1-1.

“I think we just got complacent the last 10 minutes of the game,” said Hyer about her defense conceding late.

Neither team could find the winner in the last nine minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, which set the stage for more Moreira heroics.

Even thought Alta’s 7-0 start isn’t necessarily surprising for a team that advanced to the 5A championship a year ago, Hyer realistically had no idea what to expect from this year’s team after graduating 10 seniors.

“This is a brand new team, so it’s been really interesting and fun to try and see the difference and what this team’s personality is. At the beginning of the season, you have no idea how they’re going to come together,” said Hyer.

The biggest difference Hyer’s noticed is last year’s team was overly intense, while this year’s squad is much more laid back.

“With these guys, it’s more like they’re just out having a good time every day, and so for me as a coach, it’s been like, ‘Do I yell at them or do I bring them back and keep them focused?’ But they just keep stepping out onto the field and being amazing all the time,” said Hyer.

Like his coach, Moreira said he was “on the edge of my seat” at the start of the season wondering how this year’s Alta team would come together.

From the first game, Moreira could tell this year’s group was all about having fun while playing good soccer — but also playing with a chip on its shoulder after a disappointing ending to last year’s season with a 4-2 championship game loss to Wasatch.

“We lost to a really good Wasatch team, but the way we lost was an embarrassing way, so we have that chip on our shoulder,” said Moreira.