BOUNTIFUL Surely the Mountain Crest Mustangs cringed a little when they saw their second-round playoff opponent was the Bountiful Braves.
After all, Bountiful shut out the Mustangs in both games of the regular season, winning 4-0 and 1-0.
Friday afternoon was no different, as the Braves posted their third shutout victory against Mountain Crest, 2-0.
Despite the banging drums from the Mountain Crest fans, it was Bountiful that set the tempo to their aggressive style quickly, chalking up the first goal of the game just 57 seconds into the match.
The Braves controlled the opening kickoff and scored without giving Mountain Crest a chance to even get possession. Mike Knight beat Mustang keeper Tom Spillman, assisted by Joe Lake.
"I was making a run on the right and was able to beat a defender," Lake recalled after the game. "They closed on me, but I was lucky enough to find my buddy Mikey Knight for a great finish. The ball was up and I kinda 'thighed' it to him."
Bountiful was able to play soccer its way, as the ball hardly entered its defensive side of midfield the entire half. The Braves had two other good scoring chances in the initial 40 minutes, but went into the break up 1-0.
Mountain Crest was able to settle down in the second half, having several runs at the net, but Braves keeper Brian Simmons repelled the Mustangs at every chance, posting his sixth shutout of the season.
In the 20th minute of the second half, Bountiful added an insurance goal. Weston Salisbury took a free kick on the left side about 35 yards out and placed it perfectly to meet the head of teammate Jim Allred, who was streaking towards the goal. Spillman had no chance.
While many teams, when up two goals with only 20 minutes to play, would back off and simply focus on retaining the lead, the Braves did nothing of the sort.
"The guys don't do well sitting back and packing it in. We're not that kind of team," Bountiful coach Lou Plank said.
Bountiful's antagonistic style of play produced one more goal, although it was disallowed due to a foul called just before the shot. In either case, the Braves kept Mountain Crest on its heels throughout, thus securing the win and a trip to the state 4A semifinals on Tuesday.