Story and photos by Kurt Johnson
SANDY – Since opening the season with a tie against Sky View and a loss to Weber, a very young Alta High girls soccer team has become the juggernaut of the new-look Region 7. The Hawks had already recorded back-to-back 4-1 wins over Orem and Timpanogos in league play when high-flying Timpview came calling Thursday afternoon.
The Thunderbirds entered the matchup between two Region 7 newcomers on a high, following a bye that came after a big win at two-time defending state champion Timpanogos that extended their overall record to 4-0.
All of that momentum went out the window very early Thursday, and Timpview found itself scrambling throughout the second half to regain its composure. With a line-up that featured just three seniors (along with eight sophomores), Alta scored in the fourth minute and the tacked on two more goals before intermission to lead 3-0.
The Hawks then withstood a furious second-half T-Bird surge to grab control of the Region 7 race with a 3-2 victory.
The first half of this contest was completely controlled by Alta, as the Hawks dominated possession and played the ball consistently on the ground through the midfield. They used a quick, short-passing game to keep Timpview’s defense under constant pressure, and then cashed in on their scoring chances.
Goalkeeper Isabel Jones did have to make one first-half save on a point-blank Thunderbird shot on frame, but otherwise, the first half pretty much featured Timpview scrambling on the back line, in crisis mode, and sending hopeful balls forward. The tactics did not change all that much after intermission, but the T-Birds turned the intensity level way up and managed to get themselves in position to challenge Jones regularly, mostly with long balls to strikers who slipped behind the Alta defenders.
Timpview did do a better job contesting balls in the midfield during the second half, and that evened out the flow of play, which kept the Hawks from exerting nearly as much pressure on the Thunderbird back line. As a result, Timpview had a number of scoring chances and in the end, created a close contest that it even had chances to equalize.
Senior Breanna DeWaal got Alta on the scoreboard first, taking a throw-in in the fourth minute, before turning and striking with her left foot from just inside the penalty area. Her shot reached the back of the net, just inside the far post for an early 1-0 advantage.
In the 27th minute, the Hawks put Timpview under duress on a sequence of corner kicks. One of those set plays resulted in the game’s second score as a scrum in front of the goal left a return ball on the foot of freshman forward Breckin Mozingo, who banged it past the goalkeeper into the corner of the net.
Two minutes later, a nifty through-ball led Mozingo past the 18-yard-line and towards the goal line, but she was taken down in the box to set up an Alta penalty kick. DeWaal cashed in the PK to increase the lead to 3-0, which is where it stayed until halftime.
Timpview found a lot of success in the second half, particularly with long balls targeting Dakota Smith up the right hand side. Each of those runs resulted in defensive recoveries from Alta or saves from Jones, but in the 62nd minute, the Thunderbirds earned a corner kick.
Smith took the kick and found midfielder Ashton Brockbank out in front of the Alta net. Brockbank touched the ball home to get Timpview on the scoreboard for the first time. In the 73rd minute, Smith sent another cross into the scoring area to Jayda Clarke. Clarke’s shot on goal was turned back by Hawk freshman midfielder Heather Stainbrook, who was positioned to guard the back post.
The rebound found its way back to Clarke and this time, she managed to get the ball past the defense, between the posts and into the net. That pulled Timpview within one score with seven minutes plus stoppage time still left in the contest.
Marren Nielsen had to turn back an Alta breakaway during stoppage time to keep the margin at a single goal, but the Thunderbirds were not able to get the equalizer.
DeWaal, Abbey Miller and Logan Lyman were strong all day long in the Hawks’ midfield, and were particularly dominant during the first 40 minutes, while senior forward Meghan Walker was also strong on the ball for Alta. For Timpview, its ability to maintain contact with a red-hot Alta team came courtesy a strong effort by its defense that was led by Katie Haskins, Weslee Baird and Kelsey Salveson.
Timpview (1-1 in Region 7, 4-1 overall) will host Mountain View (1-1-1, 1-3-2) at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, while the Hawks (3-0, 3-1-1) are off until next Thursday when they will also see the Bruins at Mountain View.