Story and photos by Kurt Johnson
PROVO – It’s not easy to keep a great scorer down as the Timpview High girls soccer team discovered once again Tuesday night on its home field. After a bit of a slow start, the Thunderbirds had settled into a great flow and their defense, anchored by Weslee Baird, Kelsey Salveson and Katie Haskins, was answering every challenge offered by an extremely talented Alta team.
But the Hawks still had Breanna DeWaal, and the senior midfielder struck twice from deep in the final 20 minutes of regulation to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 2-2 tie. After the teams went at it for an additional 20 minutes of extra time, Alta was left in the top spot of Region 7 after the game ended in a draw.
A month ago, when these teams met for the first time, the Hawks came out firing and built a 3-0 advantage against a shell-shocked T-Bird team that answered back twice, but could not get the equalizer. That decision leaves Alta alone on top of the league standings as we head into the home stretch, but these two teams are evenly matched, and it would not be a shock if there is one more meeting come playoff time.
Timpview spent the first 10 minutes of this contest in deja vu mode as the Hawks controlled the ball and lived in the Thunderbirds’ defensive half of the field. This time, however, Alta did not find the back of the net during that stretch, and Timpview turned things around about 10 minutes in. From that point on, this was a hard-fought back-and-forth battle between two teams who move well and move the ball very well.
The T-Birds got the jump on the scoreboard in the 11th minute on a nice passing combination. Dakota Smith hit a low cross in from the right side, finding midfielder Kamryn Worthington inside the penalty area. Instead of forcing the shot on goal, Worthington touched it ahead to Liza Smith for the finish that put Timpview on top 1-0.
Alta was strong all night long working the ball through the midfield, where DeWaal and Abbey Miller coordinated much of the attack for the Hawks. Timpview’s outside backs, particularly with aggressive runs from Haskins, do a great job getting forward into the offensive zone and the Thunderbirds’ center backs, Baird and Salveson, set up a lot of the attacking runs as they won a lot of possession at the center line and beyond.
It was Timpview’s ability to win free balls during the last 30 minutes of the first half and on into the second stanza that gave it the advantage. In the 46th and 48th minutes, the Thunderbirds just missed on a pair of great changes to extend their lead as Dakota Smith and Hailey Fisher created offensive pressure.
First, the Smiths – Dakota and Liza – worked the ball back and forth while running at full speed, to weave their way through the Alta defense, but goalkeeper Isabel Jones delivered the sliding save to turn aside the initial shot. A rebound attempt was blocked by a Hawk defender.
Two minutes later, Fisher drove the ball up the left side before slipping a pass to Worthington, but her blast on frame was pushed over the crossbar on a nice save by Jones. In the 52nd minute, Worthington came fast again and her chip over the head of the Alta defense found the feet of Dakota Smith with no one to beat but Jones. This time, the keeper was unable to make the stop and Smith ended up with a shot at the open net to double the advantage to 2-0.
Up two goals and playing defense at such a high level, Timpview seemed to have an insurmountable lead. That was especially true as that T-Bird back line, along with Abby Woodfield, Ashton Brockbank, Worthington and Fisher did a great job anticipating Alta passes, stepping in and turning the play back in their favor.
One advantage that seemed apparent for the home team was its depth. Timpview substitutes a lot and it’s level of play seems to stay high regardless which players are on the pitch.
But this is a great Alta team, and Meghan Walker, Brecken Mozingo, Morgan Lyman, DeWaal and Miller continued to battle through the midfield, while Lauren Webb, Addi Groves and the Hawk defense got even tougher, keeping the deficit at two goals. Then, it was up to DeWaal…twice.
The senior midfielder created her own shots on both goals. She was about 25 yards out on the right side for the first one, where she dribbled towards the sideline before cutting the ball back and rifling a left-footer shot that seemed to disappear in the crowd as it passed through the defense. Timpview goalie Marren Nielsen appeared to lose vision on the ball and it bounced past her and into the goal to cut the lead to 2-1.
That goal came in the 63rd minute, and then five minutes later, Miller nearly curled a corner kick in for a score, but Nielsen played the ball and pushed it wide. In the 77th minute, DeWaal was on the opposite side of the field, again about 25 yards out, and she delivered a near mirror-image to her first goal.
DeWaal found space by starting outside and then turning back toward the middle of the pitch before cutting loose a rocket from 25 yards out on the left side. The shot beat Nielsen top shelf and slipped beneath the cross bar to level the match.
In this exciting and hotly contested battle, that final three minutes was amazing. Timpview used the scramble that followed a corner kick to get a pair of shots on goal in the 79th minute. The first attempt bounded off a pack of defenders in front, and the second went harmlessly into Jones’ waiting arms.
The Hawks had another opportunity off a corner kick in stoppage time, but came up empty, but it was Jones who answered the challenge as regulation time ran down, including a great save on a Brockback shot in stoppage time.
The desire to win this game made overtime nothing short of spectacular. DeWaal and Baird both missed just over the bar on long free kicks as each team had chances on set pieces during the first extra session. DeWaal also found space running down the middle of the field and hit a shot from about 30 yards out that just missed high.
The best action came on somewhat unintentional plays. The Thunderbirds had a look at a game-winner in the eighth minute of overtime, but a strong shot hit Alta defender Rachel Twede, whose presence saved a goal.
A minute later, as Timpview tried to clear the ball off its goal line, the kick hit off of Mozingo, who was attacking about 10 yards out. That ball ricocheted at high speed towards the T-Bird goal, but an alert Nielsen made a diving save to maintain the tie.
The second extra period was as exciting as the first, with the Thunderbirds earning the best scoring chances. Fisher executed her flip throw-in from near the corner flag in the 13th minute of overtime and dropped the ball right in the mouth of the goal where Alta scrambled to clear the ball.
After that, Dakota Smith made multiple strong runs into the attacking zone and dropped balls to teammates with looks at the frame, but the shots were off target.
The end result of the drama and exciting two-way soccer battle was a draw, leaving Alta (7-0-1 in Region 7, 8-2-2 overall) three points ahead of Timpview (6-1-1, 9-1-1) in the region standings. The Hawks face Corner Canyon (3-5, 7-5) Oct. 1 while the T-Birds are back in action Thursday night at Mountain View (3-4-1, 3-6-2).