OREM Though Orem's school colors are blue and yellow, it was the color red that made all the difference in the Tigers' 4-1 win over Mountain Crest in the opening round of the girls 4A state soccer tournament.
It was the red shoes of Kaitlyn Thomas who provided all four goals, including three goals in the second half that propelled her team to victory.
"The red shoes are my trademark," states the senior midfielder. "They match my red hair."
Orem didn't waste any time getting on the board as Thomas and Jaime Lyons executed a flawless give and go and the left foot of Thomas gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the very first minute of the match.
Orem controlled the action for most of the first half, outshooting the Mustangs 12-5 in the first half. However, Mountain Crest settled in toward the end of first half and Ashley Burdett scored on a header from a corner kick from Mindy Beckstrom to knot the score 1-1.
Mountain Crest was more aggressive at the start of the second half but could not score. Then Mountain Crest fouled and Thomas scored her second goal in a bend-it-like-Beckham shot from the left side from 35 yards out in 55th minute.
Mountain Crest penetrated Orem's defenses but Orem countered as a crisp upfield pass by Kaci McNeil found Thomas who nailed her third goal.
Thomas was not done and iced the game for the Tigers on another penalty from nearly the exact same spot of her two previous scores. Again her red shoes and left foot found its mark and Orem had an insurmountable 4-1 lead.
"The first shots I went for the near post because the keeper was protecting the far post," related Thomas. "Then on my last penalty shot she adjusted to the near post and I put it over her head on the far post."
Orem Head Coach Ed Louder was complimentary of the Mountain Crest squad who fell short by three goals but in his view gave a game effort.
"They (Mountain Crest) are a great team. They came to play." Louder also praised his own team and the patience they showed in the second half. "We didn't press the attack as much. We let the game come to us in the second half. Fortunately for us they made some fouls and we took advantage."