Woods Cross • The host Woods Cross Wildcats won Region 5 and only suffered two losses during the regular season.
That didn’t mean anything Tuesday when the Class 5A girls’ soccer playoffs opened.
Brighton, the No. 4 seed from Region 7, pulled off a 2-1 upset behind second-half goals from freshman Sage Stott and senior Hanna Olson to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal round.
Sophomore goalkeeper Naomi Kehl, who stopped seven of the eight shots that came her way, was huge in the win. Her big moment came midway through second half.
The Wildcats, who trailed 1-0, played a ball down the left wing. Woods Cross’ Sara Noel took a point-blank shot at the goal from well inside the goalkeeper box. But that shot deflected off Kehl’s arms with the ball bouncing to another Woods Cross player, who kicked wildly, sending the ball over the top of the goal.
“Just when they started attacking, I was like, ‘I have to stop them,’” Kehl said.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Brighton sophomore goalkeeper Naomi Kehl may have been nervous playing in her first state tournament game, but her performance suggested otherwise. She stopped seven of the eights shots in the win.
Brighton got the insurance goal that it ultimately needed a short time later. Senior Hanna Olson hit a shot from 30 yards out that hit the inside of the goal and ricocheted out.
“We had really good team work and communication,” Kehl said.
Woods Cross coach Dave Newman summed up Brighton’s second goal in simple terms.
“That was a perfect shot,” he said. “She could have shot that 100 times and not hit it like that.”
Brighton advanced to face Maple Mountain in Thursday’s state quarterfinals.
“I’m pumped,” Kehl said. “I hope we kick butt.”
“Naomi has been great all season, and today was no exception,” Brighton coach Brett Rosen said. “It was a team effort. We had a freshman score and a senior score.”
Stott opened the scoring in the 56th minute when she took a ball played down the left wing and got a shot past Woods Cross goalkeeper Rachel Noel.
Woods Cross got a goal back two minutes later when Katy Longmore scored on a scramble in front of the Brighton goal.
“Brighton was the better team today,” Newman said. “You can make all sorts of excuses, but they controlled the midfield.”