HIGHLAND Different year, same result.
On Thursday, for the seventh straight time, the Lone Peak girls soccer team faced off against its primary region challenger, Timpanogos, and won.
The Knights jumped out to an early first-half lead and held on for a 3-2 win, taking an early advantage in Region 4 against a Timpanogos team that looked completely unprepared.
The last time the T-Wolves beat Lone Peak was September 2004. Since then there have been close finishes and blowouts, low-scoring matches and high-scoring ones. But the Knights have won all of them, and won the region every year as a result.
Timpanogos had to feel there was a good chance to turn the tables this season, but Lone Peak took control of the game right from the start and never gave the T-Wolves much of a chance.
"We came out a lot better than we typically come out in the first half," said Lone Peak coach Mike LaHargoue. "For us, it's huge. We haven't played well when we've gotten behind."
It took just over 15 minutes for the Knights to strike first. A short corner kick was redirected into the box, and the ball took several touches before Kaitlin Seeley hammered it inside the near post.
Ten minutes later, Lone Peak was well on its way when Katie Lohner's breakaway cross was hit in by Megan Smith.
In between the two goals, Timpanogos just missed when Angelica Dickson's breakaway shot went wide. That was the story of the game for the T-Wolves who couldn't get a break to go their way.
"We kind of lucked out a few times," said LaHargoue. "They had either bad touches or we got a big toe on the ball."
Timpanogos pressured early in the second half, then conceded a third goal in devastating fashion in the 47th minute. Goalkeeper Alexa Anderson took some contact trying to scoop up a loose ball. No foul was called, and Kelli Hansen took possession and scored in an empty net.
"We came out terrible," said T-Wolves' coach Natalyn Lewis. "There's no other word to describe it. We have rarely played well here at Lone Peak. It's a historical problem and it has to be fixed."
Lewis did credit her team for staying in the fight, even after going down 3-0. Timpanogos battled back when Shelby Bruning scored the T-Wolves' first goal in the 52nd minute, and briefly had a chance to tie it after Angelica Dickson's free kick made it 3-2 in the 78th.
"I'm very proud of our second-half performance," said Lewis. "They got a goal of their own and just fought with everything they had."