Skyline had a few memorable shots, but the Eagles couldn’t have come up with their 1-0 win over Timpanogos without Alli Spencer’s hands.
The senior goaltender was fearless Thursday afternoon, jumping in the path of charging players and stretching out to grasp loose balls with just her fingertips. Spencer’s command performance in the net was a huge factor in the quarterfinals victory, a rematch of last year’s 4A title game, which Skyline lost by the same score.
“Everyone remembers how it felt to walk off that field at Rio Tinto last year, especially giving up that early goal and having to fight the whole game,” Spencer said. “This team knows how important it is to finish out close games.”
The Eagles were able to switch up the scenario on Timpanogos this season. Senior forward Ashley Aberton was able to hook a corner kick into the net in the opening minutes. Timberwolves defenders leapt up to stop the shot but merely grazed it as it bounced in.
It was an early shocker to Timpanogos, a team with a senior class that had been to three consecutive championship games and won two of them. The Timberwolves, after adjusting to the considerably smaller field at Skyline, started making some runs in the first half and then fielded an all-out attack after halftime.
Shots by Savannah Brady, Katie Henderson and others couldn’t find the holes in Spencer’s defensive range. The closest Timpanogos got was a deflection that rolled behind Spencer, but she quickly pulled it back in with less than 10 minutes remaining.
“I think they got a little lucky, and we got a little unlucky,” Timpanogos coach Natalyn Lewis said. “I think they kind of beat us in the first half, and we killed them in the second, but the final score is the only one that matters.”
The quarterfinals historically have been a nail-biting affair for the Eagles: The team has won in home-field shootouts each of the last two years.
Skyline was a bit worn down by illnesses this week, so it was all the more nerve-wracking from the sideline as the Timberwolves launched a flurry of shots in the final minutes.
“That last 10 minutes was the longest 10 minutes of my soccer career,” Skyline coach Yamil Castillo said. “It was a big win for these girls.”
Bonneville 3, Clearfield 0 • Emilie Tafunai got the Lakers out to a hot start with a pair of goals, and the defense held tight for another shutout.
Woods Cross 2, Box Elder 1 (OT) • The Wildcats got goals from Kyra Fawcett and Kacie Anderson to break through for a win against the Bees.
Bountiful 3, Timpview 0 • The Thunderbirds couldn’t find a hole in the Braves’ defense as Charity Cole earned a blank sheet and three Bountiful players scored.
4A soccer semifinal schedule
Tuesday, Juan Diego High School
3:45 p.m. • Woods Cross v. Bonneville
6 p.m. • Skyline vs. Bountiful