HYRUM — To the delight of head coach Amber Hyatt, her Mustangs didn’t waste any time putting pressure on the opposition.
Mountain Crest was relentless in the attack from the opening whistle on and scored twice in the first half en route to a 2-0 victory over Logan in a Region 11 girls soccer match on a pleasant Thursday evening at Lynn R. Miller Field.
“It was great to see the pressure right from the get-go,” said Hyatt, whose team fired off its first shot in the first minute. “It’s always nice to get a few opportunities right off the bat, get the energy up, the intensity up. ... So I was proud of them for going out there and giving the energy I needed them to have.”
The Mustangs have scored multiple goals in each of their nine matches this season, but needed some late-game heroics from Addyson Sofonia to escape with a 2-1 win over Green Canyon on Tuesday. Sofonia came through with both Mustang goals in the final 10 minutes against the Wolves.
Mountain Crest (8-1, 3-0 has rarely been tested this season, so it was an invaluable experience heading into Thursday’s showdown with Logan (3-6, 1-2).
“It was good for us because we went into that match really confident (and we got tested), but we started working as a team and playing even harder, and just came out with the win,” MC standout freshman Hadli Barrera said.
Barrera made sure her side didn’t have to sweat it out this around as she tracked down a ball into space from Baylie Baldwin and finished her one-v-one opportunity in the 15th minute. It was sweet redemption for Barrera, who headed a Amelia Zilles corner kick off the crossbar five minutes prior to her goal.
Mountain Crest struck again in the final two minutes of the opening half when Bentli Barrera collected a half clearance by Logan and served a ball into the heart of the 6-yard box, where Sofonia redirected it into the back of the net.
The Mustangs fired off 18 shots in the first half and 15 more in the second. A phenomenal performance by Logan goalkeeper Milly Garren and some resolute defending by the visitors was just enough to prevent Mountain Crest was adding to its lead after halftime.
Garren denied Hadli Barrera on a breakaway — the freshman timed her run perfectly on a lovely through ball from Baylie Baldwin — and came through with reaction saves on shots well inside the 18-yard box by Riley Baldwin, Baylie Baldwin and Zilles. Garren, who finished with 13 saves and garnered the praise of Hyatt, also robbed Riley Baldwin of a goal with a slight touch on the full extension on a strike that appeared to be destined for the upper 90 of the far post.
“Obviously finishing could have been a little bit better tonight, but overall we played well,” Hyatt said. “All of the opportunities I was seeing was very encouraging, so I’m happy with (our performance), even though we didn’t get as many goals as we maybe should have.”
Led by Garren and freshman phenom forward Mia Lopez, the Grizzlies are a dangerous side, even when facing a deficit. Lopez is currently nursing an injury and saw limited action Thursday, but she still showcased her skills on one sequence in the first half where, after a series of moves, she carved out enough space to unleash a left-footed rocket that MC keeper Dakota Andersen had to deftly tip over the bar.
“I never count my team out,” Logan head coach Natalie Norris said. “With Mia, she is a special player, a special player. And Milly Garren in the goal, I think she’s the best keeper in the state and she has made unreal saves to keep us in these games. With her back there and Mia up top — and we’ve got plenty of talented players in between — I will never count us out (of a match).”
Unfortunately for the short-handed Grizzlies, they only had a couple scoring chances the entire game and didn’t attempt a shot after halftime.
“Having my whole team would definitely help with that, but that’s OK,” Norris said with a chuckle. “(The Mustangs) are an incredible team, very, very talented. But we talked about this at half and we didn’t see a ton of it after halftime, but we have got to figure out a way to get open off of our man. We need to move earlier, we need to move together and we need to communicate. And those are some of the things we’ve been working on all year. We just haven’t quite put it all together.”
It was Mountain Crest’s fifth clean sheet of the season, but first in three region games.
“I gave my defense a round of applause,” Hyatt said. “They seriously played so well tonight. ... They were winning all of the 50-50 balls. They were so solid tonight and they were very key in our 2-0 win, so big shout out to them.”
BEARS 1, BOBCATS 0
Rylee Towne scored in the first half for Bear River, and that was enough for the Bears at home against Sky View. The Bears (3-6, 1-2) became the first team this season to shut out the Bobcats (6-4, 0-3).
Green Canyon (3-5, 1-1) and Ridgeline (4-4, 2-0) were scheduled to square off Friday evening in Millville, but due to the weather it was postponed. A make-up date has not been announced.