HERRIMAN — For a team that plays on turf and the predictable bounces that come with that surface, South Summit sure benefitted from the smaller, bumpy grass field at Providence Hall on Wednesday.
Even though the surface prevented South Summit from knocking the ball around like it’s accustomed to, the team benefitted greatly from the bumpy surface in the two decisive moments of the 3A first-round game.
The surface played a big part in both of Kyler Kimball’s goals, including the game winner in overtime as the Wildcats edged Providence Hall 2-1 to advance to Saturday’s 3A quarterfinals.
“We had to play a lot more over the top than we usually do. We’re usually a possessions-based team, but it just doesn’t work on this type of field,” said Kimball, who raised his goal total to 14 with his two finishes.
His first goal leveled the score in the 68th minute to force overtime, and then he buried the winner six minutes into overtime. For a team that was 1-6 this season in one-goal games, it was an extremely satisfying result.
“This season has been so hard, we’ve had so many close losses, over and over and over. I just told them to keep going, we’ll come out on the winning side of some of these close ones,” said South Summit coach Chris Burton.
Kimball made sure that moment came in the playoffs on similar goals that came on crosses near the corner flag of the narrow field.
Until his first goal though, it looked like Providence Hall was poised to eke out the playoff win.
After a fairly even first half with both teams creating chances, the Patriots struck first in the 52nd minute as Austin Bush tapped in a bouncing cross from Dallin Dodge that somehow squeezed throughout multiple defenders.
Providence Hall continued to dictate the pace over the next 10 minutes and came agonizingly close to doubling the advantage on multiple occasions.
Those near misses, however, allowed South Summit to slowly regain its confidence after a lethargic 15 minutes.
The breakthrough finally came in the 68th minute as Jaxon Stowe sent a bouncing cross into the box. Kimball stayed focused to try to put a good strike on the ball, and he ended up hitting the ball down into the ground, which then bounced up and over the keeper, tying the game 1-1.
South Summit kept the momentum going until the end of regulation, and it didn’t ease up in overtime either.Comment on this story
In the 86th minute Kimball buried the winner on a cross from Alex Rea from the same part of the field. This time he struck his shot much better than the first goal, but Providence Hall’s keeper had a bead on the ball and was in good position to make the diving save. Just before it got to him, though, the ball hit a bump and bounced over his hands and into the back of the net.
“Their field kind of did them dirty again, hit the bump and went right over the keeper,” said Kimball.
South Summit will be on the road again in the quarterfinals when it travels to play Grand in Moab on Saturday.
“This is such a young team, I start one senior. We’re all sophomores and juniors, this team is growing up right in front of my eyes and I think we’ll have a lot of confidence going into the quarterfinals,” said Burton.