SALT LAKE CITY — Hunter soccer coach Larry Garahana thought his team should have had a goal by halftime.

The boys were playing well enough, he said, but it wasn’t until the 55th minute that the Wolverines finally found the net.

Regardless of timing, however, Hunter (4-1-1) powered its way to a narrow 3-2 overtime victory over Region 2 foe West (1-4-2) on Thursday afternoon.

“After the first five minutes, we got our act together,” Garahana said, “and we started playing really well.”

It was senior forward Ethan Liefting who scored first for the Wolverines when he controlled the ball among a group of players and sent it past West goalkeeper Misa Macias.

“He’s been stepping up lately. He’s got his game together,” Garahana said, adding that Liefting had 23 goals as a junior varsity player last season. “He’s doing a great job. I expect a lot.”

Just 13 minutes later, the Panthers tied the score and then took the lead behind goals from Brayan Cerrato and Chris Osborne.

The former scored on a play in the box and the latter scored on a penalty kick.

Wit just six minutes remaining, Nathan Palmer of Hunter soared down the center of the field and headed the ball into the net to re-tie the score, 2-2.

“That’s a scheduled play,” said of Palmer moving up the field. “We bring our tall guys up that are usually our backs. … It worked well for us today.”

Oscar Hernandez secured the win by netting the golden goal five minutes into the overtime period. He controlled the ball and sent it to the top left corner of the net.

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“I told them we were putting everything together; it’s just going to have to happen and let’s get it done quickly,” Garahana said of the final scoring sequence. “We were pressing. We had the ball most of the time in the last of the game, and we just carried it on into the overtime.”

Macias was a vocal leader and played well in the net for the Panthers, grabbing numerous last-second saves. West was ultimately affected by the loss of five players who were out of the lineup due to a combination of spring break vacations and grade ineligibility.

Garahana was pleased once again by the solid performance of goalkeeper Justin Motzkus, a 6-foot-2 freshman.

“He’s well-trained,” the coach said. “I can’t take credit for that. I’m just glad he came to our tryouts.”

Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: