DRAPER — The Juan Diego girls soccer team entered its game on Wednesday evening with aggression — and it made the difference.
The Soaring Eagle slid through the first round of the 3A state tournament with a dominant 3-0 victory over visiting Ben Lomond, and advanced to a quarterfinal meeting with Snow Canyon.
"We were aggressive early," said Juan Diego coach Simon McFall, "and we stayed focused throughout the match. We stayed positive throughout the match and it paid off."
It took just seven minutes for the Soaring Eagle to score the first time. Senior forward Stevie Midgley caught a rebound off Ben Lomond goal keeper Leanza Driscoll and sent the ball to the left corner of the net for her third goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Mattie Muzatko broke away from the pack and sent the ball in to add to the Juan Diego lead. The senior forward is the team's leading scorer, accounting for 14 Soaring Eagle goals.
"We had a lot of opportunities tonight, and we took advantage of them," McFall said. "And this was against a good team. Ben Lomond is a very strong team."
Juan Diego junior Kristen Shimkus scored the final goal of the game 20 minutes into the first half when she corralled a corner kick and set it toward the net.
Soaring Eagle goal keeper Melanie Mecham notched her seventh shutout of the season, and with the cushion, McFall had an opportunity to give his younger players valuable tournament experience.
"Our players got engaged and involved in the in the game," the coach said, noting that 20 of his 36 roster spots are filled with underclassmen. "A lot of younger players are gaining experience, which is going to help us now and in the future."
Juan Diego got their win under the field lights, which McFall said "added to the atmosphere."
"A game is a game, and this game was big anyway, but we invited Ben Lomond to come play under the lights, and they were open to it. It adds to the atmosphere."
Now the Soaring Eagle travel to Snow Canyon on Saturday afternoon. The Warriors earned a 3-0 victory of their own on Wednesday, defeating Stansbury at home.
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