HOLLADAY — For most of the season, the Skyline girls have relied on the speed of Ashley Aberton and Jaslyn Masina — and the offense they created.
On Thursday afternoon, the Eagles needed some defensive help.
Aberton scored the game's only goal with a perfectly placed corner kick and goalkeeper Alli Spencer saved it time and time again as Skyline downed Timpanogos 1-0 and sent the defending champions home in a 4A girls soccer tournament quarterfinal.
"I reminded my players they were Timpanogos," said Skyline coach Yamil Castillo. "They were the defending champions and they wouldn't go down easily."
That certainly proved true. The Timberwolves, a soccer power who also won the 4A title in 2009 and had reached the title contest in each of the last three seasons, gave up Aberton's goal in the first five minutes. Despite a huge effort, they were never able to recover.
"This is literally the first time these kids haven't been in the championship game," said Timpanogos coach Natalyn Lewis. "You can't ever really enjoy what it takes, but watch out for us next year."
Amanda Marshall, Katie Henderson and Madison Moreno each had multiple chances to put the ball into the net, but Spencer came up with a big stop each time. On one play, a hard shot bounced just off Spencer's fingertips in front of the goal. The play seemed to move in slow motion, but she managed to retrieve it.
"It was a big play," Spencer said. "I didn't feel comfortable until I had it safely back in my hands."
"Those last 10 minutes were the longest 10 minutes of my career," added Castillo.
Afterward, Skyline celebrated, but it was difficult for the Timberwolves to leave the field. They finished with an 11-4-3 record, but it was a late-season loss to eventual Region 7 champ Maple Mountain that forced them into a No. 2 seed and a second-round matchup against the Eagles.Comment on this story
Timpanogos, of course, defeated Skyline 1-0 in last year's championship game. In many ways this game duplicated that contest, except it went the other way.
"We have a lot of players who remember how it felt to walk off that field last year," said Spencer. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy, and it's not going to be any easier from here."
Skyline improved to 15-1-2. The Eagles haven't lost since their opener against Davis. They moved to the semifinals, where they will play Bountiful on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Juan Diego Catholic High School. Bonneville will meet Woods Cross in the other game.