OREM — Skyline's boys soccer team is at the top of the Region 7 standings. Mountain View is near the bottom. And still, when the two met Tuesday afternoon for the second time in a week, the Eagles were tested until the final minutes.
"I think this Mountain View team is really a good team," Skyline coach Shawn Kennedy said after the Eagles edged the Bruins, 2-1. "I think the ball just rolled our way today rather than their direction."
It was hard to determine which way the ball was rolling during much of the game due to gusting winds that sideswiped the field.
"The most difficulty we had today was probably our style is not a wind-oriented style of soccer," Kennedy said. "We really struggle putting the ball where we need it to be when there's so much wind. It seems like every time we come down here, this is the second game we've had 50-, 60-mile-an-hour winds."
In the early minutes of the match, it looked as if Skyline was going to glide through to victory, just as it did the week prior with a 4-0 win at home. Brigham Jackson sent the ball into the back of the net in just the eighth minute, his sixth goal of the season, for the early lead.
Nearly 20 minutes later, however, Jerry Cota notched his first goal of the year to put the Bruins on the scoreboard.
"It was a beautiful 60-yard shot," Kennedy said of Cota's goal.
"I give credit to their backs. They controlled the ball really well," the coach said of Mountain View. "Their goalie had a couple of good saves. I thought they played a great game. We just came away in the favor of the win."
With just 10 minutes remaining, Sheldon Martineau corralled a pass from Jackson and buried the game-winning goal to maintain the Eagles' perfect 9-0-0 record in region action. The Bruins fell to 2-8-0.
"I think the region is a good, tough region to play in. We've been very fortunate in coming away with as many wins as we have," Kennedy said of the Eagles' run through Region 7, which has included four shutouts and an overtime win over last-place Corner Canyon.
"I don't consider them easy wins by any means, regardless of the score," he said. "I think any team could beat another team at any point."
The stiff competition is helping Kennedy and the Eagles prepare for postseason play, which will follow their three remaining contests against Orem, Murray and Olympus.
"Sometimes when you have teams you're blowing away and everybody knows they're the weakest team, then mentally you don't put forth your best effort," the coach said. "I think with any high school player you have good days and you have bad days. We just hope they come out on a good day and play."
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.