CENTERVILLE — For the Viewmont Vikings, defense wins quarterfinal matches.
It was the effort on the defensive end of the field that made the difference for the Viewmont girls soccer team, which eked out a 2-1 victory in its 5A tournament game against visiting Lone Peak on Thursday afternoon.
"I could not be more proud of this group of girls," Viewmont coach Emalee Tate said afterward. "They have absolutely come together as a team. It was an entire team effort today, and it was phenomenal."
All three goals were scored in the second half, and it was Viewmont that got its offense going first.
In the 43rd minute, senior forward Courtney Wallis contested the defense of Lone Peak's second-half goalkeeper, Julia Vaughan. When Vaughan stepped out of position, Wallis took advantage and sent the ball to the back of the net.
The Knights tied the score just six minutes later on a Wesley Hamblin goal.
The junior midfielder controlled the ball on the right side of the field and sent a roller through to the net.
In the 62nd minute, Vaughn went after the ball aggressively but was called for a handball after it was ruled she had stepped out of the box. Abbie Flandro stepped up to take the free kick and gave the Vikings the winning score.
"It was a complete team battle today," Tate said. "Lone Peak, congrats to them. They got us earlier in the season and gave us a run for our money today. They did a fantastic job."
Viewmont, which has lost just one game this season, dropped an early season match to the Knights. The difference on Thursday, the coach said, was her team's ability to maintain composure throughout the contest.
"Things were kind of a roller-coaster ride," she said. "We were able to ride the roller coaster and just be mentally tough and grind it out."
The Vikings and Knights played evenly throughout the scoreless first half.
Both teams created opportunities to attack the goal, but goalkeepers Ashley Earnshaw, of Viewmont, and Sara Boley, of Lone Peak, played fantastic behind their strong defenses.
"Viewmont lost a lot of kids last year, especially on the defensive end," Tate said. "They (the Viking defenders) were able to be come together and be connected as a back four."
The coach highlighted the leadership of senior Ella Johnson and junior Montana Tanner.
"(Johnson) really controls the back and has all year. She's an awesome, awesome player," Tate said. "Those two specifically really came together the last half of the season and found each other's strengths and weaknesses. They have helped each other out and are doing a fantastic job."
Now, with the Davis Darts awaiting them in the next round of the tournament, the Vikings hope defense wins semifinal matches, too.
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