HERRIMAN — Hunter goalkeeper Justin Motzkes felt butterflies. He had worked 10 years for this moment. It’s natural to experience fretfulness in the season opener, but, for Motzkes, this was something entirely new.
“It was the first time I’ve ever played on a high school team,” explained the 15-year-old freshman, “so I was really excited and wanted to impress.”
Impress, he did.
Motzkes battled off a barrage of shots, including a penalty kick, and earned a 2-0 shutout over Herriman on Tuesday at Herriman High.
“You can tell he’s highly trained and has a lot of skill,” Hunter coach Larry Garahana said. “I mean his size is incredible for a freshman — 6-2. We were excited when he showed up at tryouts.”
Besides it being his first ever high school soccer game, the shutout was sweet for Motzkes for another reason. Throughout his club career, Motzkes played for Mustangs coach Ryan Mitchell. Despite living in Hunter’s boundaries in West Valley City, he strongly considered enrolling at Herriman. Ultimately, the 30-mile round-trip commute deterred him from following one of the only coaches he’s ever known.
The decision was certainly validated on Day 1.
“Coming out here I was just so excited,” Motzkes said. “I wanted to beat this team so bad and to be able to do this well — and kind of shove it in (Mitchell’s) face a little bit — was really nice.”
The Wolverines, who were limited greatly offensively throughout the contest, made the most of their opportunities. In the first half, Raul Cavazos put Hunter up 1-0 in the 34th minute with a blooper into the right-hand corner. Then, Kendall Taylor extended the lead, 2-0, with a well-placed ball at the 57th minute.
“I thought we possessed the ball and we were able to counterattack,” Motzkes said. “We were able to (do) really well on the final ball, which is most important, besides scoring.”
It was only the second time the Wolverines played on grass the entire spring after practicing at Herriman the day before. The game was originally scheduled at Hunter, after the Mustangs won the 2012 meeting 3-0 at home, but relocated south after snow remained on the field at Hunter.
“It took us a little while to get our legs under us playing on grass,” Garahana explained. “Playing indoor — the weight of the ball and the width of the field — but after we got that we started playing quite a bit better.”
Hunter is back in action Friday at Spanish Fork at 3:30 p.m., while Herriman will host Copper Hills on Friday at 3:30 p.m.