West Valley City • Taylorsville boys’ soccer isn’t accustomed to being at the top of the region standings, according to coach George Sirstins. And the Warriors played accordingly in the first half of a Region 2 with Granger on Friday.
But the visitors controlled the ball in the second half, got the one score they needed, and Taylorsville beat the Lancers 1-0 as a result.
"We came into this one [game] ahead in region and they’re not used to being number one," Sirstins said. "I think it scared them. I just calmed them down (at half) and told them that we know how to play our game. I felt in the second half that we dominated. I would say we had 80 percent possession."
Taylorsville (8-2-1, 5-0-1) did outshoot Granger (6-4-1, 3-2-1) in the second half by a 9-2 margin.
It was 11 minutes after intermission that senior Carlos Lopez shot high into the Lancers’ net for the game’s only tally. Lopez converted a short feed from teammate Amar Uvejovic. The two Warriors were in proximity with each other, 20 yards from the goal, when Lopez moved to the right to create spacing for the shot.
"We had actually practiced that. They [the Lancers] like to put five in the box, so my goal all week was to teach my guys to go into the middle and then go outside," Sirstins said. "Someone has to move. Our guy got the step on him and fired the shot and we got the goal."
The two teams had played in the region opener for both a month ago. That game ended in a 1-1 deadlock. The rematch was even as well through the first 40 minutes as Granger and Taylorsville each had four shots.
But the Lancers’ offense after intermission didn’t get many opportunities. Only in the last ten minutes did Granger get off a shot attempt against the Warriors, but neither of the Lancers’ late opportunities were very close to finding net.
"They packed it in well in the back, with five defenders, and it was tough to break their defense," Granger coach Hyrum Okeson said. "They put away their one chance and we didn’t.
"Winning builds confidence and losing tests it, but we’ve still got four games in region - and a ton of chances," he added.
Taylorsville now has a two-game advantage in the region standings over both Granger and West. Sirstins believed that his squad had improved since the earlier deadlock with the Lancers on March 27.
"A 100 percent [better]," the Warriors coach said. "We’re playing to win now rather than not-to-lose."
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