CENTERVILLE — Prior to the Tuesday afternoon matchup between the Fremont and Viewmont girls soccer teams, the two squads were locked at the top of the Region 1 standings.
Just 80 minutes later, the Silver Wolves defeated the Vikings for the second time in the season — this time a 3-1 victory — and held a commanding lead over the defending 5A state champions for the first-place seed.
"We knew that this was going to be a tough game because Viewmont always plays tough," Fremont coach Tiva Palmer said afterward. "And we wanted to make a statement to not only our community but to Utah that we're here to play this year."
A year ago, the Silver Wolves placed second behind Davis in Region 1 but ultimately fell to Alta in the first round of the playoffs. The Vikings were the Region 2 champions before realignment brought the teams back together this season.
"The last couple of years it seems like we've been just having some upsets," Palmer said. "We've always had a good team, but this year the girls really want it and it's nice to sit up at the top with less pressure on us."
The match on Tuesday was physical from beginning to end due to the high stakes, but Palmer felt her team controlled the pace throughout.
"They played as a team, they played aggressive, they played possession — they played our game," the coach said. "It is like every other game but with a little more emphasis coming in playing the defending champs."
Senior forward Mariah Elmer broke the ice quickly, creating a breakaway and slotting the ball past Viewmont goalkeeper Haley Johnson in just the first minute of the game.
Vikings senior Bailee Hammond evened the scored in the 18th minute with a shot from deep that took an awkward bounce and flew past Alexis Burnett of Fremont.
Just five minutes into the second half, however, Elmer struck again. Junior Kassidy Gibson set a corner kick in front of the goal and Elmer knocked it in, scoring her team-high 11th goal of the season.
"She's a phenomenal player, and she's really been a huge team player this year," Palmer said. "It shows that she scored two goals but stats don't show all of what she does on the field. She creates passing lanes for her teammates and she finds them and she's just been an all out player for us."
In the 54th minute, Carlie Watson secured the Fremont victory when she corralled a rebound off the cross bar and sent it into the net.
The Silver Wolves' (11-2, 9-1 in Region 1) only loss in region play has been to Northridge, a team that is currently tied with Davis (10-4, 8-2) for the third seed. While Viewmont faces the Knights in its last game of the season, the Darts are up next for Fremont. And it is a game Palmer and her players are looking forward to.
"It's their senior night and we're playing 7 p.m. under the lights," she said. "It'll be fun; it's always a good match with them. Hopefully we can come out on top there too."
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company