High school soccer: Opening-minute goal puts Waterford in semifinals for 5th straight year
SANDY — Soccer's not really a sport where a coach can draw up specific plays, but Waterford coach Tim Dolbin came as close as he probably ever will on Saturday afternoon in the 2A quarterfinals.
He had a feeling Waterford's skill on the ball would surprise Richfield, and he wanted to capitalize on that shock right away. Dolbin stressed that point to his players over and over, and following the best pregame warm-up of the season they went out and executed the game plan to perfection.
The Ravens pinged the ball around with relative ease in the opening minute, scoring just 40 seconds into the match on their way to the relatively easy 4-0 playoff victory over Richfield.
Madeline Morrill's opening-minute strike was the first of two goals on the day for the sophomore, and she attributed familiarity to the bright start.
"Our whole team just worked together and came out knowing we had to get that first goal off as fast as we could. We know each other so well and we were able to do that," said Morrill, who has scored four goals in two playoff games already.
With the victory, Waterford advances to next Friday's 2A semifinals at Jordan High School — its fifth straight semifinal appearance. The defending 2A champs will face Maeser Prep at 3:45 p.m.
"I thought we were the most ready to play coming out of the warm-up than we have all season. The warm-up looked beautiful, I even cut it off early it looked so good. That manifested itself in the first minute," said Dolbin.
After investing so much emotion to the quality start, a letdown was perhaps inevitable. Richfield had the better of the possession over the next 10 or so minutes with Waterford struggling to string any passes together in the midfield.
Midway through the first half the Ravens eventually rediscovered that first-minute fire and never looked back.
Grace Sponaugle doubled Waterford's lead in the 20th minute with the clinical strike from 20 yards out that snuck just inside the left post. Just before halftime, Mitsu Miyashima increased the lead to 3-0 on a breakaway finish.
Morrill tacked on another goal midway through the second half to wrap up the scoring.
Outside of 10 sloppy minutes in the first half, Waterford dominated possession which contributed significantly to Richfield's first shutout of the season.
"I did want to be the first one to shut them out, not due to arrogance, but because we've shut out a lot of teams and I thought that was something we were capable of," said Dolbin.