August Miller, Deseret Morning News
SANDY For 50 minutes, Alta's boys soccer team was thoroughly outplayed by neighborhood rival Jordan Wednesday afternoon.
The Beetdiggers, who likely needed at least a point to stave off Skyline for third place, played excellent soccer during that stretch en route to a 2-1 lead.
But then third-ranked Alta roared back to life. The Hawks scored three times over the final 23 minutes to erase the deficit and win the match, 4-2.
"(With the) region championship on the line," said midfielder Garrett Vaughan, "We had a lot of heart in the second half."
Added coach Lee Mitchell: "This team, they seem to be able to rise to the occasion most of the time."
The win keeps Alta on pace to share the Region 2 championship with No. 1 Brighton, which finished its league schedule on Wednesday. Alta will finish tied with the Bengals if it wins at Skyline this Friday. (A coin toss would determine seeding.)
As well as Alta played over the final half hour, a defensive mistake by Jordan in the 57th minute let the Hawks back into the game. Trailing 2-1, Alta winger Curtis Messam caught a Jordan player in possession and arrowed the ball toward the far post.
Senior forward Colby Swensen, who transferred from Jordan to Alta, ran onto the ball and nicked it into the net. He celebrated by kissing the Alta badge on his shirt.
The Hawks took the lead three minutes later. This time, a deep throw-in fell to Vaughan inside the penalty box, and he swept it into the net.
Vaughan scored for Alta in the first half.
Swensen wasn't able to convert a pair of scoring chances after that, but left winger Matt Frogley added Alta's fourth goal in the 81st minute when he beat Jordan's goalie at the near post.
Forwards Brett Cracroft and Jake Hustedt scored Jordan's goals.
Alta enjoys arguably the state's premiere boys soccer rivalry with Brighton, but Jordan also claims the Hawks as its main rival.
What does Alta think of that?
"Jordan does like to think we're their rivals," said Vaughan. " . . . I'd say they're our second toughest game."
Alta now faces a make-up contest with Skyline. Last year, the Hawks could've won the Region 2 title by beating Copper Hills on the final day of the regular season. They lost that game, which handed the championship to Brighton.
Mitchell will undoubtedly remind his players of that fact.
"It's going to be a tough game," said Mitchell.
Meanwhile, Jordan closed out its regular season. The Beetdiggers are currently tied with Skyline for third place. Skyline could win third outright by drawing or beating Alta. If not, a coin toss would determine seeding.In other action Wednesday:
REGION 2BRIGHTON 8, TAYLORSVILLE 0: Jantzen Romney notched a hat trick as top-ranked Brighton clinched at least a share of the Region 2 championship. Brian Peterson, Coleman Petersen, Jeff Gardner, Mike Nielsen and Adam Dahlberg all scored once. Jaddon Rogers, Matt Petersen and Jonny Baldassare shared the shutout.
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