Taylorsville • George Sirstins said his house may be soaked in eggs and covered in toilet paper sometime Tuesday evening. But after a momentous and dramatic playoff win, that’s just fine with the Taylorsville boys’ soccer coach.
The Warriors, traditionally a program that has struggled to sustain success — especially in the postseason — defeated the Brighton Bengals 1-0 in overtime Tuesday afternoon in the first round of the 5A playoffs.
Sirstins, a Brighton alumnus who lives near his alma mater, wanted to change the past. He delivered a message to the Warriors this season: “Play to win.”
Against the Bengals, No. 1-seeded Taylorsville followed orders and continued its stellar 2014 season to advance to Friday’s 5A quarterfinals against Fremont. The victory was delivered on a gold platter off the foot of senior midfielder Carlos Lopez in the third minute of overtime. Sophomore midfielder Colton Thomson made a streaking run into the gut of the Brighton defense and poked a through ball toward Lopez.
Lopez and two Bengal defenders crashed into one another, but Lopez came out of the pile with his arms raised once the ball rolled by the Brighton goalkeeper and into the net. The golden goal sealed it. The Warriors would fight another day.
“A lot of us have grown up together and we’ve played some years together, and honestly, I think that helps a lot just because we know how we play,” Lopez said.
The Warriors, now 12-2-2, are a formidable group. Powered by a talented attacking core of Thomson, Lopez, Connor Ivins, Andy Bergeson, Armando Lopez and Eduardo Munoz, Taylorsville knocked the ball around and created several dangerous chances in the opener. The match probably wouldn’t have made it to overtime if not for Brighton goalkeeper Conner Dearden, who came up with several clutch saves on shots by Munoz, Bergeson and Lopez.
Throughout the 80 minutes of regulation, the Warriors were knocking on the door. Then, when the season was on the line, they burst on through.
“We’ve never won — we’ve never had expectations to win,” Sirstins said. “I didn’t believe we were the region champs, because I was going one game at a time, not looking at the schedule, not looking at the standings.”
Now, whether they want to or not, the Warriors must look forward.
If they want to make the storied run they all envision, they have two more matches ahead of them to make it to Rio Tinto Stadium for a chance to play for a state crown.
Next up: The Fremont Silver Wolves on Friday afternoon.
“We’ve never gone this far, and that’s I think the difference,” Sirstins said. “I don’t have superstars.”
But the Warriors are hungry for a shot.
“I think we have what it takes to take state, honestly,” Carlos Lopez said.
5A boys’ soccer
• Alta 3, Granger 0
• Riverton 2, Davis 0
• Viewmont 3, Am. Fork 0
• Copper Hills 3, West 2 (2OT)
• Fremont 3, Pl. Grove 2
• Taylorsville 1, Brighton 0
• Hunter 2, Bingham 1 (5-2 PKs)
• Layton 2, Lehi 0
All games at 4 p.m.
• Alta at Riverton
• Copper Hills at Viewmont
• Fremont at Taylorsville
• Hunter at Layton
4A boys’ soccer
All games at 4 p.m.
• Cyprus at Olympus
• Ogden at Maple Mountain
• Provo at Logan
• Murray at Bountiful
• Wasatch at Box Elder
• Timpanogos at East
• Judge at Skyline
• Roy at Salem Hills