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HEBER CITY – Timpview gained an edge over Wasatch in the 4A Region 8 standings with a 2-0 win over the Wasps under the bright sunlight in Heber City Tuesday.
The two teams, sitting on identical unbeaten conference records heading into the matchup, played to a 0-0 tie in double-overtime on Aug. 21 at Timpview. Despite beginning the 2014 region unblemished after that night, the result created an even larger sense of urgency for both clubs this time around.
“We learned a lot from that first game,” said Timpview head coach Eric Brady. “We looked at the film repeatedly and found they (Wasatch) liked to keep the ball in the air — off their heads, and we worked hard to prepare for that this time around. We felt if we kept the ball on the ground and not get out of our game like the first time, we had a chance.
“This region is so tough,” Brady added. “We both have won such close games this year and it will only get tougher. By no means will we rest on this. It will be a fight to the end.”
On the other end, it was not the joyous celebration of finally joining the elite in Utah 4A women’s soccer that Wasatch was so hoping for, nor would it be a sign that Timpview could now relax after beating one of its toughest opponents in Region 8. The victory following the grueling match only served as an indication that to take the conference title and have a shot at the state crown you will need to play a near perfect game.
“We had our chances,” said Wasatch head coach Dawain Wheatley. “We both had our chances. Our best shot hit the bar and went out and their best shot hit the bar and went in. It was that close.”
Wheatley added the contest was a “story of two halves.”
“I felt we had the upper hand in the first half,” he said. “But we just couldn’t get that goal we needed and mistakes in the second half caught up to us in the end.”
Early on, the game played out just like the previous match between the two schools. Defense was the name of the game and neither side appeared to want to be the aggressor on offense. Very few shots on goal were attempted as the teams strategically worked the ball to the middle of the field.
Wasatch forward Ashlyn Coleman, coming off a hat trick against Spanish Fork last Thursday, had an open look from 20 feet out at the midpoint of the first half, but sent the kick booming outside the goal. About two minutes later, with Wasatch on the defense, forward McCall Scovill took a clearing long pass at midfield and made a charge at the Thunderbird’s goal. Having Timpview goalie Daryl Kaufusi backing up, the freshman took what looked to be a perfect shot that smacked the crossbar and ricocheted out of play.
Wasatch was in position again soon after, when forward Ella Ballstaedt worked the ball into and then out of the corner past a defender and towards the goal, but a clean shot was denied by the tough Timpview defense.
Other than keeping the ball in front of the Wasatch goal in the final minutes of the first half, the T-Birds never really got a clean look against the energetic Wasp defense.
At halftime, with the score knotted at zero, spectators began to wonder if they were in for another overtime contest like they witnessed three weeks earlier.
The second half was much of the same between the two rivals. The midfielders on each side were getting most of the work as they fought to find open passing lanes and move the ball forward into scoring position. Neither team were able to form breakaways nor open shots were, so strategy was leaning to the physical side.
Six minutes into the half, Timpview made its first real threat at Wasatch goalkeeper Torri Bills. A corner kick dropped perfectly into the line in front of the goal and several attempts were made to punch the ball into the net, but Bills came out of the frenzy with ball in arms.
A second corner kick shortly after by the Thunderbirds was harmlessly headed out.
Wasatch continued on the attack. At the 52nd minute of the half, Scovil again took a shot that hit the post and failed to bounce the right way. Kaufusi remained stellar in between the pipes, working on five consecutive shutouts, when she leapt high for a Ballstaedt shot that was saved at the top of the goal.
At the 58th minute of the game, Timpview got the break they were waiting for — a chance for leading scorer Kesley Rumsey to work one on one and attack the goal. The striker came through for her team shifting through the defense and blazing a shot to the left of Bills that ricocheted off the post and went into the back corner of the net.
Wasatch, seemingly more determined than ever on offense attacked the Thunderbird goal for the next eight minutes with Kaufusi remaining perfect in the net. The shots and passes and subsequent denials the Wasps attempted in those final ten minutes of the game seemed to wear them down.
Under the two-minute mark, Rumsey again got the advantage on the Wasatch back line and worked towards the net beating Bills on the play and giving Timpview the clinching goal and the win at 2-0. Kenny Bristow is the sports editor and staff sports writer for the Wasatch Wave and contributes to the Deseret News and KSL.com high school coverage for the Wasatch region. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and/or follow him on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.