It’s the shot that Marshall Miller has wanted back since last year.
The Alta senior hasn’t taken the field without remembering last year’s first-round loss to Bingham in the 5A state championship or the penalty kick he couldn’t drive into the net. Not thinking he’d get that chance to stare down Bingham’s keeper, Mark Stanley, again, Miller was elated that fate put him in the box for another penalty kick in the 54th minute.
Alta 2, Bingham 0
O The Hawks play short-handed the final five minutes after Kris Kambouris is red-carded.
» Erik Marquez scores his second goal of the year.
Setting up deep behind the ball, he looked at the athletic tape on his wrist with the simple message written in black ink: "Play to my true level." Pausing to stare then nod at Stanley, the tall striker charged the ball. In his approach, he saw Stanley cheating left — so he drilled the ball into the right side of the net.
Pumping his fist, he saluted the Alta faithful in the stands before running to the Hawks’ bench. Mobbed by his teammates, Miller said he wanted redemption from last year’s misstep and a chance to take his team through the postseason.
"I wanted this PK since last year. We all were so hungry for this game," Miller said. "I know that we can always do better that we can step up and always play to out full potential."
Alta downed Bingham 2-0 in a gritty game that coach Lee Mitchell said encapsulated Alta soccer at its finest. Commenting that his players know how important it is to make the necessary adjustments to be a competitive playoff team, Mitchell credited Miller with setting the tone on the field.
"He’s a great player, leader. When he works hard, he inspires the rest of the kids to go get after it," Mitchell said.
Miller’s combination of physicality and passing kept the Miners’ attack at bay. Teammate Erik Marquez said that Miller is instrumental in proving to other teams how tough they can play.
"Marshall leads by example. He gets into tackles and wins balls, [making you want] to do the same," Marquez said. "We played our hardest and it showed."
Marquez scored the second goal of the game in the 78th minute, while goalkeeper Dylan McIllece registered his fifth shutout on the season.
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