4A girls' soccer: Bountiful tops Skyline to advance to finals
Draper • The Bountiful girls' soccer team thought it could've won it all last season, but its title hopes fell away with a blocked attempt in a shootout with Skyline.
The Braves will get their chance to earn it this year.
A slippery first-half goal gave the Braves their revenge against Skyline, topping the Eagles 1-0 in a Class 4A semifinal Tuesday night at Juan Diego High School. Bountiful survived a late onslaught to hang on for a ticket to Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday for the finals with Bonneville.
"It's gonna be a great matchup," Bountiful midfielder Jenny Skedros said. "Words can't explain how excited I am right now."
Skedros' shot about 20 minutes into the contest proved to be the difference. Wind and rain were blowing toward the Skyline goal at the time. After regaining possession from an Eagles defender, Skedros saw an opening and thought she'd "just crack it."
The ball ricocheted off the right post and bounced just behind Skyline keeper Alli Spencer, one of the toughest defenders in the state.
"She's so big and kind of intimidating," Skedros said. "What we thought to do was kick it low and hard before she could dive to the ground."
Bountiful had only one goal, but not only one chance. Skyline was on its heels as the Braves made run after run for most of the game. What they did with the ball kept the game close: Mackenzie Eiting and Skedros both had a turn at knocking a shot well over the goal at point-blank range.
The Eagles began to push their forces up in an effort to get more scoring over the final 15 minutes. The Skyline scoring corps gave goalkeeper Charity Cole more than a few close calls.
Cole dived on the ball on one save, but it was rolling faster than she had anticipated on the wet turf.
She ended up clenching the wayward strike with her ankles in the final five minutes.
Bountiful coach Lou Plank was happy to see such determination from his team, even after Kennedy Merrill was hurt early in the first half. The coaching staff is hopeful she'll be back for the finals, but if she's not, it knows the team can move onward.
"We're a team of no stars," Plank said. "It breaks my heart to see [Merrick] go out like that, but it's illustrative of our team that they can go out there and get it done."
State title game
P Bonneville vs. Bountiful
Friday, 7 p.m.
Rio Tinto Stadium