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High school girl's soccer: Keeper is key in Maple Mountain's victory over Timpanogos

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 25 2012 9:45 p.m. MDT

Timpanogos' #10 Breanna Brown, right, and Maple Mountain's #31 McKell Nielsen battle for the ball as they play Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. Maple Mountain won 2-1.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

OREM — There's no question that Timpanogos High's soccer team was the aggressor during a damp, overcast Tuesday afternoon on its home field.

Frequently, especially in the second half, the Timberwolves had incredible opportunities to find the back of the net, but couldn't capitalize — in large part due to Maple Mountain's sophomore keeper, Brooke McCluskey.

Penalty kicks, breakaways and corner kicks — it didn't matter the scenario — McCluskey and Co. turned back the T-Wolves time after time to earn sole possession of the Region 8 crown with a 2-1 decision.

"As a program and as a team, this is one of the goals that we set out at the beginning of the season was region champions," Golden Eagles coach Jeff Lake explained. "And knowing that we had to play against Timpanogos, they're a great team, and they're probably the example program in Region 8."

Maple Mountain (13-2) avenged an earlier 2-1 setback against the 'Wolves in late August, and in doing so handed the three-time defending Region 8 champs their first loss since Aug. 9. The win also snapped the Timberwolves' six-game shutout streak.

The Eagles broke through midway through the first half when Elise Flake drizzled a grounder that snaked into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. From that point forward, Maple Mountain clamped down despite a relentless 'Wolves attack offensively.

"I'm very proud of my girls," Lake said. "Timpanogos came out and they wanted it. It was their senior night and so (for) my girls to keep them from scoring until that last little bit was great. We've been working on defense since the last Timpanogos game because I've felt if we could clean up the errors we had in that game, we could beat these guys."

With time dwindling down in the first 40 minutes, Timpanogos (9-3-3) nearly had an equalizer, but the attempt clipped the corner post, allowing Maple Mountain to clear.

It was the first of three near-misses, with two more occurring in the second half.

McCluskey, who entered the game with 41/2 shutouts this season, flew around like a pinball. On multiple occasions, she lurched for could-be goals and athletically deflected high kicks.

"Brooke is a phenomenal goalie. She has a tremendous upside as far as her abilities," Lake said. "She's very confident in the back, she's knows she's a great keeper. I just love having her in the back. If we get beat, she has the ability to stop a one-on-one opportunity."

Timpanogos controlled possession for virtually the entire second half. However, once Maple Mountain recognized its lone legitimate scoring chance, senior forward Mickelle Hamilton scooted past the defense and in a one-on-one scenario lasered a shot to the opposite side corner late in the second half.

"They have the speed on counter attacks to beat defenses," Lake said. "That showed, the second goal there, just the speed on the outside having that speed."

The 'Wolves would finally end the scoring draught with seconds remaining in regulation when Jordan Chung-Hoon squared up and hit from dead center.

Email: tphibbs@desnews.com

Twitter: @tphibbsami

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