BLUFFDALE — Summit Academy has turned heads in its first year of existence.
Despite playing with a 1A student body enrollment, the Bears finished second in the 2A Central Region and entered the 2A boys soccer tournament with a 12-2 overall record. It was a valiant season, but first-year teams simply don't perform in the postseason. It's basically scientifically proven — like genetics.
Uh, not exactly. On Wednesday, Summit Academy took a page out of Charles Darwin's natural selection theory and survived its first-ever playoff game, 3-1, against Wasatch Academy.
"We're a new team. We're a young team," Summit Academy coach Troy Stroud said. "This is our first trip this way and I think it gives them a confidence that they haven't had. The question has been, 'Could we compete at this level in this next phase of the game?' We were able to get one today."
Postseason jitters were apparent in the opening 40 minutes. The combination of the Tigers' athleticism, strong wind gusts and a ragged field made things tough on Summit Academy in what was ultimately a scoreless opening 40 minutes.
Wasatch Academy finally ended the offensive futility when Emrem Tanriover drizzled a snake shot into the lower-right corner on a penalty kick early in the second half.
"We just had to dig in and come out and fight. They're a good team," Stroud said when asked what changes were made after his team fell behind. "We made some adjustments personnel-wise, and I think that came to our benefit."
The Bears eventually pulled even when Austin Farr was the recipient of a fruitful bounce off the post, setting him up for an unchallenged header into the back of the net. Shortly thereafter, Farr found himself in the right place once again when a free kick landed innocently in front of his feet before he tapped in the goal.
"If you get a chance for set plays, you've got to finish," Stroud said. "Luckily we were able to do that today."
Tate Stroud had Summit Academy's other goal as the Bears advanced to the 2A quarterfinals. They will square off against Oakley on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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