The Lehi boys soccer team got a close victory in a rainstorm and then lost a shootout the next day as the Pioneers got the new season started. They regrouped and picked up another win on Monday.
The Pioneers got off to a quick start as senior Stephen Roperfound the net three minutes into the contest off an assist by senior Anthony Bustos to get Lehi on the board on a wild weather night. The score remained 1-0 to the half.
The Spartans got the equalizer halfway through the second period. Even with the terrible circumstances, the Pioneers continued to work hard and got what turned out to be the winning goal in the 74th minute on an unassisted corner kick by senior defender Garrett Weber.
“Despite the weather and field conditions, playing in a monsoon and freezing rain, we came out with a good result to start the season against the very good Murray high school program,” said Coach Tim Graham.
“They fought and played very well against us as they’re a top-notch opponent,” he said. “It was nice to get a positive result to get things started but we have a lot of work to do as the season is long.”
Mar. 11: Provo 2, Lehi 2 (SO 2-4)
The Bulldogs took advantage of some Pioneer mistakes early to get a quick lead on two set pieces. One goal came on a free kick for a foul just outside the 18-yard box and the other was a penalty kick. Provo retained the 2-0 margin at the break.
Lehi fought back in the second half and tied the game with two scores in the final 18 minutes by senior Tyler Orton and Weber. Neither team was able to hit the target in two overtimes, so the match had to be decided with a shootout.
Senior Cade Preston and junior Ammon Cannon made their penalty kicks for the Pioneers but two of their teammates missed and Provo scored four times so they earned the non-region win.
“It was so frustrating that Provo didn’t score a goal other than on set pieces,” Graham said. “We played fantastic in the second half and really controlled the game. We missed a dozen or morescoring opportunities in the second half alone.
“We were all tied up at the end of regulation and both OTs and we just couldn’t convert on our kicks unfortunately,” the coach added. “Still, it was a great comeback effort, and the boys learned a lot.”
Mar. 13: Lehi 2, West 0
The Pioneers and Panthers dueled even through the first half and went into the break with a scoreless draw, but the home squad was able to board two goals in the second half to pull out the win.
Weber hit the target for his third consecutive game and senior Alfred Vargas netted the other score for Lehi. Both of them were assisted by senior Nathan Shepherd. Junior goalkeeper Kaleb Cowley picked up the shutout. “The boys played really well in the second half,” Graham said.