LEHI — When it comes to Region 7 soccer, you've got to be able to beat Mountain View to win a region title, and Lehi took care of that order of business in a convincing fashion Tuesday night.
Even though the final score paints a different picture, Lehi thoroughly outplayed Mountain View the entire match earning an impressive 1-0 victory on a chilly night under the lights.
"Just with them being the biggest rival and one of the only teams we lost to last year, it was huge for us to come out and beat them," said Lehi striker Zach Morgan.
Mountain View only threatened once or twice in the offensive third, while Lehi was dangerous all night, outshooting the Bruins 23-6 and 13-3 with shots on goal.
The only thing that kept Lehi from a blowout victory was the stellar play of Mountain View keeper Keegan Black, who finished with 12 saves.
As great as Black was, he couldn't deny Morgan in the 51st minute after the striker was played into space near the penalty area on a through ball from Ian Ramos. Morgan calmly slotted the shot home for the 1-0 lead, and the Pioneers were dominant on the ball in the final half hour to kill off the game.
"I thought our defense did really well, we were able to smother any attack they had," said Lehi coach Jerry Preisendorf. "That is the best defensive effort we've put together. Last game we looked really well, but we had periods of being flat."
Controlling possession was Lehi's best defense on Tuesday. Even when it lost the ball it was quick to recover. Lehi's tenacious midfield forced the visitors into countless giveaways as the Bruins lacked any type of continuity.
After Mountain View fell behind, coach Mark Graham mixed things up by switching the Bruins to a 3-5-2 formation, but even with the extra midfielder they couldn't get anything going. They're only shot on goal in the second half came in the 80th minute, and even that was an ambitious 40-yard effort by Josue Cisnernos.Comment on this story
"We've struggled holding the mid, but we controlled the mid today and our defense played great," said Morgan. "They're a great team, and obviously they're going to be our competition throughout the year, but I'm happy we came out with this one."
In addition to the play of reigning 4A MVP Ramos, Preisendorf was pleased with the contribution in the midfield from sophomores Patrick Fuchs and Isaac Gray.
For defending 4A champion Lehi, the win gives it early control of Region 7 but also avenges a home loss to Mountain View last year.
"It's big, it's a confidence booster for us and hopefully we don't stop working hard," said Preisendorf, whose team is now 7-1 overall and 3-0 in region.