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Alta Advances Past Pleasant Grove to Semifinals

Alta Attackmen Chase Oviatt
Alta Attackmen Chase Oviatt

The Alta Hawks defeated the Pleasant Grove Vikings Saturday night in Sandy. After being behind in the first quarter, the Hawks went on an eight goal streak, showing why they are No. 1 in the state. Alta won the game 14 to 7.
As the game began, both the Hawks and the Vikings seemed very comfortable on offense, making good passes and working the ball around the restraining box, only to eventually lose the ball to the defense and the ball would then be cleared to the other end of the field. On one such clear, Viking Midfielder Adam McCurdy was able to ride the defense, check the ball to the ground and score off the ground ball.

Alta Midfielder Chase Oviatt
Alta Midfielder Chase Oviatt
Pleasant Grove gained confidence from the goal and began to dominate possession of the ball. Alta struggled a bit with passing and had several turnovers in the first quarter. Pleasant Grove was able to score their second goal as attackmen Michael Perry passed the ball from behind the crease. He connected with midfielder Michael Bellitti who quickly scored. Pleasant Grove was showing more and more confidence, while Alta continued to struggle. The Hawks were finally able to score late in the first when midfielder Chase Oviatt found star midfielder Mackay Dunn with an underhand pass.
In the second quarter, Alta was able to figure out what was not working on offense. The quarter began with a seven point streak. Dunn led the Hawks by scoring the first goal of the second quarter. Pleasant Grove knew that Dunn was one of Alta’s major weapons. As he picked up the ball and drove towards the goal, Viking defense collapsed. Mackay was guarded by a total of five players, and yet he was still able to score a nice mid-range goal.
With the game now tied, Alta decided to try a trick play, which paid off. Oviatt faked a pass at the top of the restraining box. Pleasant Grove defense had to keep their eyes on both players as they both wound up for a shot. Oviatt shot low and scored. The steak ended late in the quarter when Viking midfielder Chad Madsen scored in a man-up situation. The half ended with Alta up 8 to 3.
The second half of the game was riddled with penalties as both teams stepped up their defense. The game became so intense that at one point a fight broke loose between two players, who were ejected from the game. Leading up to the fight, Alta had picked up a penalty for slashing and a penalty for holding. Despite the pile of penalty minutes ahead, Alta took control of the ball and midfielder Jake Webster killed the releasable penalties with a nice goal. At the end of the third Alta was still up 10 to 4.
Although they had now been down most of the game, Pleasant Grove did not give up. In the last half of the fourth, they really tried to step up their offense and it proved to be their best quarter. McCurdy was determined to get himself another goal. Starting with the ball at midfield, he brought it all the way along the sideline and behind the goal. Alta defenders played him hard, but could not stop him or break the ball free. McCurdy continued around the back of the crease and scored his second goal of the game.
Viking Attackmen Spencer Merrifield finally found his groove, after playing almost the entire game, scoring the team’s final two goals. One goal was scored left-handed and his second was made with just 9 seconds left in the game. Despite a small run at the end of the game, Pleasant Grove could not come back to beat the Hawks.
“Pleasant Grove came prepared for this game. They know how we play.” said Alta Head Coach Mark Davis after the game. “They got a two nothing lead on us, but our guys did not lose composure. They chipped away, and then the just blew up.”
The Hawks move on the semifinals to take on the Judge Bulldogs. The game will take place at 7:30 pm at Park City High School on May 15th. Judge and Alta have already matched up this season and the Hawks came out on top, winning 8-5.
Photo courtesy of Mykel Severson

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