We had some good options in the first half. I just told the girls, ‘It’ll come, it’ll come. Don't get frustrated —Shantel Jolley
HIGHLAND — For 78 minutes of Tuesday afternoon’s Region 4 clash between the Lone Peak and Bingham girls soccer teams, Danielle Orr was the best player on the field. The Miners' goalkeeper was nearly unbeatable, denying a seemingly endless barrage of shots (at least 12) on goal.
Orr was so impressive that in one sequence she denied Lone Peak captain Nicole Ray on back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back shot attempts (five for those who lost track). Fortunately for the Knights, not so much for Orr and the Miners, she wasn’t perfect.
With the game tied at one goal apiece, and stoppage time rapidly wasting away, Orr left the box in an attempt to corral a Lone Peak through pass. With the net wide open, the Knights burst into action. Kate Schirmer found sophomore teammate Katie Houston open on the right wing, and Houston subsequently lofted the ball into the far side of the net, just past the outstretched fingers of the ill-positioned Orr. The result was a Lone Peak goal and a thrilling 2-1 victory.
“The ball came to Kate first, the keeper was out, and I was just thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, Kate, you’re open. Shoot it’,” said Lone Peak head coach Shantel Jolley. “She probably made a better decision than I originally saw. She found Katie, and Katie luckily hit a pretty good shot.”
It wasn’t all luck for the Knights, however. At the outset of the contest, things looked grim, as Bingham wasted little time getting on the board. Less than three minutes in, forward Addy Anderson, the Miners' leading goal scorer this season, drilled a shot past Lone Peak keeper McKayla Wetsel, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Knights responded almost immediately, and, while the scoreboard didn’t change, the feel of the game did. The Knights attempted nine shots in the first half alone, to just three by Bingham. While the hosts didn’t completely control possession, the Miners proved themselves more than stout defensively, there was an observable uptick in their level of play.
“It was definitely the girls pushing, playing a little harder,” said Jolley. “We had some good options in the first half. I just told the girls, ‘It’ll come, it’ll come. Don't get frustrated. We will get our goal.’ I thought they played pretty well considering they were down.”
That goal didn’t come until midway through the second half, and not a moment before Ray made it her personal mission to find the back of the net. The sophomore midfielder, visible in the first half but not overtly so, was everywhere in the second frame. At almost the exact midpoint of the period, Ray appeared to have had enough with losing. Over the next ten minutes, she relentlessly attacked. After she was continually denied by Orr, Ray’s aggressive play earned her a penalty kick, and the Knight’s captain calmly drilled the freebie.
“Nicole is a special player. There are few of her that come around,” said Jolley. “When she decides she wants to play and put this team on her back, she does it. We had about ten minutes there where she did that. It’d be nice to get a little more out of her in those moments, but she is still young and that will come when she gets older.”
From that point on the game was draw, destined to find its way into extra time. That is, until Schirmer and Houston connected for the game-winning goal.
“We got some luck there at the end,” said Jolley. “Sometimes, that is what you need.”
With the win, the Knights improve to 3-1, 1-1 in Region 4, while the Miners fall to 3-2 and 0-1 in region play.
Up next, Bingham hosts the Westlake Thunder this coming Thursday, while on Friday, Lone Peak welcomes the Arbor View Aggies of Las Vegas.