MIDVALE — All Lone Peak needed to do was execute. After a first half full of flaring tempers and chippy play, the Knights were able to pull it together in the second half and get the win.
Both goalkeepers showed up in big ways in this game, making big stops early and often. Hillcrest senior keeper Alexander Ludlum made a stop on a close attempt from Lone Peak's Nate Ritchie in the 17th minute, and the Hillcrest defense continued forcing bad shots from the Knights all through the first half.
Hillcrest's crafty play on offense nearly netted them several goals late in the first half. They managed a long through pass to junior Josy Garcia Molina, who set up senior Giovanny Cisneros with a beautiful pass into the box, but Lone Peak keeper Jackson Ward was always there to answer.
Things got testy midway through the first half with Hillcrest junior Zack Dewitt drawing a questionable yellow card on McKay Bitters, then earning one of his own after kicking the ball into the stands.
The game was scoreless at halftime, but Lone Peak stayed with their plan and executed late.
"We didn't have to do a whole lot different (in the second half), we just had to do it better," said Lone Peak coach Mark Graham. "It wasn't a change in tactics until the end of the game for our second goal."
The first goal came in the 71st minute when the Knights lobbed a long pass over the Hillcrest defense right onto the foot of Nate Ritchie, who beat the keeper to the left to finally put some points on the board.
Hillcrest was not without opportunities late, however. After having set up his teammate with a killer pass earlier, Molina nearly headed in a spectacular goal in the 55th minute, but the post denied him.
After a late change, the Knights netted their second goal off the foot of Hayden Enloe to seal the win. Long passes and east-west ball movement defined the Knight's play in the first half, but quick passes from the wing moving in helped them seal the deal.Comment on this story
"The guys have confidence; when it comes time to make the play, you make the play. We had a lot of chances that just broke down because we missed the touch or the play at the key time, but we started making them in the second half," Graham said.
Lone Peak will play next on Friday, with their opponent yet to be determined.
"We just have to play great again — we have to play every bit as good if not better next time. Everybody's good. Everybody's well-coached," Graham said. "Good players, good region, everybody's good."