SALT LAKE CITY — It's a wonder Hillary Neff was able to walk off the field as she found herself on the bottom of a celebratory Olympus Titan dog-pile.
Neff sealed the 2-1 win over a tough Skyline girl's soccer team on Thursday with a well-placed strike in the first overtime.
As if scoring the game clenching golden goal wasn't enough, she did it within the first minute of overtime. Not to mention, the goal sealed the win over one of the Titans' top rivals.
"I just thought, 'I need to get this finished. Get the golden goal.'" Neff said. "I put myself out there to win."
The physical battle and resulting injuries made the rivalry between the two teams very apparent. Both Savannah Spere of Olympus and Rachel Wright of Skyline played through painful knee injuries, and several other girls found themselves on the ground time and again.
Wright's knee injury was the result of a collision with Olympus captain Lisa Christensen, and the ensuing free kick was a game-changer. At the time of the collision, Kate Watts had given Skyline a 1-0 lead with an early goal in the 3rd minute.
When Wright and Christensen went to the ground just after half, the referee placed the blame on Wright, giving Olympus the opportunity to tie things up at 1-1. Savannah Spere did just that as she calmly put the ball into the net with a beautiful free kick.
"I've had quite a few free kicks," Spere said. "I've been taking them since I was like nine, so I'm pretty comfortable with them." The goal put Spere at 19 on the season and third in the state for scoring.
Wright, who was hurt on the play, didn't quite agree with the referee's decision.
"We both slid into each other. I don't think any foul should have been called," Wright said. "It was a fair 50-50. We were both going for it."
Skyline, who had largely dominated possession in the first half, was unable to score in the second, despite many near miss opportunities.
"We started so strong. We really dominated," Wright said. "We outplayed them but just couldn't score."
Following regulation, Neff's golden goal ended overtime before it had truly started, giving Olympus another region win. They currently hold a 3-0-2 region record.
The outcome was a breath of fresh air for the Titans, as they have had several close games this season and have not always ended up on top.
"We've kind of had a rough start (preseason) with going into overtime a bunch, and playing teams that we should've beaten, but have kind of just tied with," Spere said.
The girls hope to improve with each game and capture the top spot in region; something they proved capable of with the win over top ranked Skyline.
Despite the loss, the Eagles are confident that they can compete with the best.
"We have the confidence that we can win no matter who we are playing," Wright said. "If we play how we practice and play our game, we can beat anyone. We played their game tonight, not ours."