When I take kicks I kiss the ball before I set it down, and this time I just knew it was going in. —Lancer Atley Thompson
LAYTON — The golden goal has a bit of a unique history in the world of soccer. It has been around, as a game-deciding mechanism, for almost 150 years. FIFA has utilized it, as has UEFA. It’s also made appearances in the European Championships, as well as the World Cup.
While many, if not all, of those associations no longer use the golden goal to decide overtime affairs, it is an integral part of Utah high school soccer.
No one at this moment is more keenly aware of that than the Layton Lancers and Lone Peak Knights.
With Thursday afternoon’s 6A quarterfinal match between the teams tied nil-nil after 87 minutes, Lancer Atley Thompson stepped up to attempt a free kick. It wasn’t her first of the game, but it would be her last.
Thompson drilled the ball, from the just outside the box on the left wing, into the far post of the Lone Peak goal. The post redirected the kick past Lone Peak keeper McKayla Wetsel and directly into the back of the net.
Just like that, Layton had a 1-0 victory and a berth in the semifinals.
“(Atley) came to me and asked if she could take a (penalty kick) or the next thing closest to goal and I said absolutely,” said Layton head coach Tara Ferrin. “I told her to put it on goal and she did.”
“I knew I could put it in and finish the game right there,” said Thompson. “When I take kicks I kiss the ball before I set it down, and this time I just knew it was going in.”
“It feels awesome” the junior added. “We lost to (Lone Peak) the first game of the season and we knew they were a beatable team.”
Layton need all that confidence and more in this one, as the Knights didn’t make it easy.
From the get-go, it was clear that both teams were in for a brutal match.
The Knights seemed primed to score early on, as they controlled the midfield with much aplomb. Their composure created a pair of scoring chances, but both Jocelyn Bybee and Kate Schirmer were stymied by Layton keeper Meg Edwards.
After the initial salvo by the Lone Peak, the Lancers began to exert their will in the middle, changing the course of the game entirely.
Over the final thirty minutes of the first half, Layton looked the part of a championship contender.
Miller's shot, midway through the half, was particularly notable as Wetsel bobbled the ball and stepped back over the end line. Somehow, she managed to keep the ball from crossing, preserving the scoreless tie.
The second half was almost a perfect mirror image of the first. Layton began with the momentum but quickly lost it thanks to the dynamite play of the Lone Peak midfield. Sophomores Nicole Ray and Isa Irwin, among others, were especially effective in helping the Knights conjure eight shot attempts.
“Our middles got a little out of sync,” said Ferrin. “As soon as that happened Lone Peak’s middles took over. We made a couple of adjustments, talked to a few subs, put them back in and they turned it around for us.”
Layton created a few final chances before the end of regulation, with Thompson, Anderson and Sydnee Storms each taking a free kick, but again the Lancers couldn’t beat Wetsel.
That is until Thompson’s game-winner with just under three minutes remaining in the first overtime period.
“They never gave up. They never let down,” said Ferrin. “Lone Peak put pressure on in the second half but they got through. I have to hand it to them, they never give up.”
For a reward, the Lancers get to face the top-seeded American Fork Cavemen Tuesday at Juan Diego High School for a shot at the state championship game.
“We are going to semis,” exclaimed Thompson. “There is nothing better.”