SPANISH FORK The Spanish Fork girls soccer team had its patience tested for just over one half of its game against North Sanpete on Wednesday.
In the final 35 minutes, however, the Dons broke the game open and ended up coasting to a comfortable 6-2 win.
It's another positive preseason result for Spanish Fork, which will still face its toughest challenges once region play starts but feels like progress is being made.
"We played a better team game today," said Dons' coach Dennis Gillie. "Last year when we played North Sanpete, it was a double-overtime, 1-0 win down there. We expected it to be pretty competitive, but we have good depth this year and that helped us."
Spanish Fork had a firm hold on the game from the start, and took an early lead in the 11th minute with a goal from Jennifer Noguera. The Dons struggled to finish for the rest of the half however, and went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
"We outshot them from our stats 17-3 in the first half, but we weren't getting them in the net," said Gillie. "We talked about finishing."
When an own goal tied the score at 1-1 five minutes into the second half, things got more interesting. But the goals started coming when the Dons made an adjustment on how they were sending balls in toward the goal.
"We noticed something their 'keeper was doing," said Gillie. "When we came down a side, the 'keeper would hug that near post and leave the back door open."
Jennifer Young, playing an outside forward, made some dangerous runs down her right side and started sending balls toward the far post. She put one shot in the back of the net in the 49th minute, scored once more in the 52nd minute, then hit two more in a row past the keeper 10 minutes later to bring her personal tally to four and make the score 5-1.
Courtney Acosta finished the Dons' scoring in the 64th minute, slipping through the middle of the defense and beating the 'keeper one-on-one.
North Sanpete got a goal back in the 70th minute. Brook Hammond made a run down the end line and put her kick in at the far post to make the score 6-2, but it was too little too late.
Gillie thinks his team has the potential to compete in some region games, and will be more comfortable going to his bench this season.
"We do have a tough region," said Gillie. "But, I have more depth than I have seen. Our substitutes are as good as our starters, and we have not had that before."