I just felt pure joy and happiness for these girls. These girls have worked really hard. I am glad to see it work out for them. —Megan Fereday
DRAPER — When it comes to penalty kicks, the team that comes up with more plays usually wins. It is often as simple as that. Tuesday night at Juan Diego High School, the Timpanogos Timberwolves were that team.
Led by goalkeeper Mia Barlow, who made two huge saves during penalties, the Timberwolves took down their heated rivals, the Timpview Thunderbirds, 0-0 (3-1 on penalty kicks). The game was the second of two 5A semifinals played Tuesday, and the win propels Timpanogos back to the state championship game, after a one-year hiatus.
“I just felt pure joy and happiness for these girls,” said Timpanogos head coach Megan Fereday. “These girls have worked really hard. I am glad to see it work out for them.”
“This year, (getting back to the state finals) was our goal. 1000 percent,” said Barlow. “Everything we did this year was to get back there.”
The accomplishment of that goal was in doubt all night long.
Fittingly for a semifinal match between rivals, not to mention the fact that both Timpanogos and Timpview have historically had excellent girls soccer programs, the game was truly a back and forth affair.
No players were more vital, however, than goalies Barlow and Marren Nielsen. The two keepers made save after save after save, in the most pressure-packed of situations.
Almost from the get go, it was clear that the only thing that could separate these two teams was penalty kicks.
“We have been practicing penalty kicks a lot lately,” said Fereday. “We knew the lower half of the bracket had so many good teams, so we thought we would have at least a game or two that might come down to penalty kicks. We have been practicing hard, on both sides of the ball.”
The Timberwolves started the penalty kick portion of the game and seemed to get behind the eight ball as Nielsen blocked Ashton Beck’s attempt — and surely would have been if not for Barlow.
Timpview’s Abbigail Steelman was next in the box, but her shot was swatted away by Barlow.
“Mia was huge for us,” said Fereday.
With Timpview trailing 3-1, T-Birds senior Micaela Schoenrock stepped into the box with the game on the line. Her shot sailed just above the crossbar, giving Timpanogos the victory.
“(Timpview) are our rival team,” said Barlow. “We know every girl on the team. That was really tough mentally. We just kept on fighting and I was able to give back to my team (by making those two saves). It felt really good.”
“The girls had heart and never gave up,” added Fereday. “I am just glad it went the way it did.”