You try not to talk about it until it gets here, but it's a big game. It's been something (the players) have looked forward to, and especially being back in Region 1 and having it be the region opener. —Viewmont coach Emalee Tate
CENTERVILLE — It has been awhile since the Viewmont girls soccer team has played a league game in Region 1.
Imagine the girls' excitement when their first game back is against a great rival.
"You know it's going to be a big game," Viewmont coach Emalee Tate said of the Vikings' first Region 1 match against Davis since 2010. "You know the girls are going to have that one circled on their calendars."
The Vikings took advantage of the home field and took an early lead in the league standings, defeating the Darts, 2-1, on Tuesday afternoon.
"You try not to talk about it until it gets here, but it's a big game," Tate said. "It's been something (the players) have looked forward to, and especially being back in Region 1 and having it be the region opener."
Three seasons ago, the Vikings lost to Davis twice en route to a fourth-place tie in the region standings before ultimately finishing second place at the 5A state tournament. Since that year, Viewmont has rolled through Region 2 play, winning 20 consecutive games, two region victories, returning to the state championship twice and winning the title last season.
Now that they are back, the Vikings are excited to have the Darts on the schedule again.
"Souli (Phongsavath) does such a great job with his kids," Tate said of the longtime Davis coach, "and you knew that they were going to be prepared today, ready to go, and just as up for the game as we were."
Davis (4-1) did jump out strong, taking an early lead in just the 10th minute when Regyn Youngberg snagged a rebound and sent it past Viewmont goalkeeper Haley Johnson. Youngberg is the Darts' leading scorer so far in the young season, netting six goals in five games.
The Vikings (3-1) responded 11 minutes later behind Karrie Pead's leadership.
"She is just a workhorse; she does her job and does it well and is a spark plug for this team," Tate said of Pead, who currently leads the team with four goals. "She is one of those players that never gives up on anything."
Pead collected the ball in the open field and took advantage of a one-on-one situation with the Davis goalkeeper, slipping it past the defender and into the corner of the net.
"That goal was just one of those goals where she was determined not to let it out of her realm of play," Tate said. "Just hard work and hustle, a bad clearance on their part, she had time and space, and a great finish on goal."
The Vikings made offensive adjustments at the half, working to throw different looks at the Davis defense. In the 68th minute, Abbie Flandro capitalized on the change.
Tate said the Vikings drew a forward back and had her hold the ball for a moment before putting it in Flandro's control. The senior then played the ball wide to Kaitlin Palmer, who sent it back across the field for Flandro to knock into the net.
"Abbie was there with perfect timing to put it in the goal," Tate said. "Obviously, we were really happy to go ahead, but we still had about 12 minutes left so we still had a lot of work to do after that goal."
With the region victory over a traditionally strong team, the defending champions have helped themselves early on with regard to league standings. It is, however, just the first game, and Tate knows her team still had a long season ahead.
"It's a good win," she said. "Obviously, we still have some things to work on, but we take what we learn from the game and get ready for the next one."
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.