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Hugh Carey, Deseret News
Lehi's Tanner Clegg, left, and Riverton's Jake Cole heads for the ball during the soccer game at Riverton High School Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

RIVERTON — Riverton coaches have been urging Richard Anderson to take more shots on goal. In Wednesday’s big matchup versus region rival Lehi, he responded.

The tall senior forward connected on two goals in the first half to highlight the Silverwolves' convincing 3-0 win over the Pioneers. The victory was a big one for Riverton, which came into the game just one point behind Lehi in the Region 4 standings.

“We were pumped for this one and definitely wanted to play well,” Anderson said. “I was feeling it today and I think we all were. This was a huge game for us.”

Riverton struck first with just under 33 minutes remaining in the first half. Senior midfielder Christian Davis was the beneficiary of a shot being deflected right to him in front of Lehi’s goal and didn’t hesitate to put the ball into the back of the net for an early 1-0 lead.

Eight minutes later, Anderson produced his first goal with an attempt that surprised just about everyone — including Lehi’s goalkeeper. Anderson worked quickly after receiving a long ball about 30 yards from goal, turned, and delivered a well-placed strike into the upper-right corner of the net.

“That was a great goal by him,” said Riverton coach Paul Moizer. “He just touched it fast, got it in place and went for it. Richard has been a guy who likes to lay it off to his teammates a bit too much, but he was firing away today and was able to have a really good game for us.”

The Silverwolves didn’t relent from that point — keeping the pressure on the visiting Pioneers and pushing the lead to 3-0 entering halftime. The third goal came off the foot of Anderson with just 6:15 left in the half to give ample breathing space going into the second half.

“There’s a big difference being ahead three goals instead of just two,” Moizer said. “Momentum can switch easily when it’s just a two-goal lead, but three goals — that’s when it becomes easier to hold teams back and maintain that lead, I feel.”

Riverton became a bit more defensive-minded in the second half, but still managed a few more goal opportunities that could have blown the game wide open. More importantly, the 'Wolves continued to limit Lehi’s offensive opportunities to come away with a big region win.

“This game puts us alone in first place with just a few games left, so yeah, it was a big one,” Moizer said. “Now we just need to keep playing and work to improve. We’re happy about this win, but now it’s time to get back to work.”

Next up for Riverton (9-2, 6-1 in Region 4) is a road game against Lone Peak Friday. Lehi (9-2-1, 5-2-1 in Region 4) will try and rebound at Herriman Friday.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney