LEHI The Lehi boys soccer team leapt to the front of Region 4 and picked up its most important result of the season with a 1-0 win over Lone Peak on Tuesday.
The Pioneers scored a goal in the opening minutes and then spent nearly a full 80 minutes frustrating and disrupting the opposition. The shutout is Lehi's sixth of the season, and the win gives it a one-game lead at the top of the region standings.
"You don't go forward without building it up out of the back," said Lehi coach Steve McMurdie. "Today's another good example. (Our defenders) are the story of the season."
While the Pioneers defended well, it was the Knights' defensive mistake early in the game that resulted in the only goal. In the second minute a long free kick by Lehi fell harmlessly into the box, but Lone Peak couldn't get the ball cleared away. Eventually it fell to Spencer Gray, who had an easy shot right in front of the net.
Lone Peak had its chances to pull even, but never got into any consistency in the attack.
"Lehi's biggest strength is speed," said Knights' coach Dave Woolley. "Our biggest weakness is lack of speed. They intercepted a lot of passes that they had no business intercepting."
Even when the ball did get into the attacking third, Lone Peak never found a finishing touch. "We tried not to give them any room to dribble the ball," said Lehi defender Jake Crump. "If you give them the ball they'll make you pay. That was our game plan, to shut down the space and not give them any chances to develop anything."
Lehi missed some chances to kill the game off, including one in the 71st minute when Caleb Gray got behind the defense. His one-on-one shot was blocked and the goalkeeper fell on the ball before he could get a second shot off.
Lone Peak's best chance came a few minutes later on a free kick. Cole Morely lined the ball up from 35 yards out and sent a low-driven shot on goal, but goalkeeper Riley Anderson was well positioned to make the save.
"I think we did a good job controlling in the back and in the middle of the field," said McMurdie. "We picked up that goal real quickly. It was 1-0 but we created a lot of opportunities."