SANDY — Defending 5A girls soccer state champion Alta is used to taking an opponent's best shot. On Tuesday, it was reminded what can happen when it's not prepared.
In a region-opening clash with rival Jordan, Alta wasn't mentally prepared for the home team's early intensity and promptly fell behind just six minutes into the match.
"Our beginning talk was let's come out and fight hard, and then we didn't," said Alta midfielder Bizzy Phillips.
The Hawks had to sweat out the slow start the entire first half, but the No.. 1 team in the state eventually turned it on as expected, scoring three times in the second half on its way to a 3-1 win at Jordan.
"I like the way they came out and played the second half, the kids played real well," said Alta coach Lee Mitchell.
Alta had chances to equalize in the first half after Ashlie Miller's early goal for the 'Diggers, but it wasn't nearly clinical enough in front of goal and when it did hit the target McKayla Johnston came up with a couple of nice saves.
It didn't take long for Alta's fighting spirit to kick in after halftime. It took Phillips all of two minutes to make good on her promise that 'we're not going to lose this game' as she volleyed in a deflected ball from Shaylin Orr to level the score at 1-1 in the 42nd minute.
Mitchell was pleased with how his team rose to the challenge after halftime, but wasn't pleased that it took a wake-up call goal first.
"We had to get scored on before we decided to come out and play," said Mitchell. "It's a brand new team and we've got a lot of new parts that we're trying to integrate."
It was only appropriate that an Alta veteran like Phillips delivered in the clutch as she scored the game-winning goal in the 69th minute on a wonderful bit of individual skill in the box.
Phillips, one of just a handful of returning starters for Alta this year, said the pressure of the big region-opening match against rival Jordan got the better of the Hawks early on.