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Mountain Crest Defeats Defending D-II Champs to Advance to Final Round

Mountain Crest Players Celebrate After A Goal
Mountain Crest Players Celebrate After A Goal
In a grueling battle for the final championship spot, the Mountain Crest Mustangs overcame the Spanish Fork Warriors Wednesday at Juan Diego High School in Draper, winning 10-8.
Right from the start it was easy to see how much each of these teams wanted to win. Both offense and defense seemed fairly evenly matched. Possession of the ball moved back and forth from team to team without too much action on offense until the 8:30 mark. Mountain Crest Midfielder Taylon Niederhauser intercepted a low pass off a Warrior clear. After bobbling the ball for a moment, Niederhauser gained control and quickly shot and scored. Spanish Fork was quick to answer back as midfielder Justin Ward scored an unassisted goal that bounced top shelf. Both teams scored again in the first leaving the game tied at two.
Early in the second, Mountain Crest began to show that this was their quarter. They held possession of the ball and within the first two minutes Niederhauser burned his defender on the edge of the box, putting the ball in the goal left-handed. No more than one minute later the ball was in Niederhauser’s hands again in the same spot. Using the same move, Niederhauser was able to score left-handed again.
The Mustangs, at this point, had found the Warrior’s weakness: clears. Rides were getting harder and defense was getting tighter on clears. At the 5:40 mark, Spanish Fork Goalie Zachary Swenson carried the ball up to outside the restraining box. As he passed the ball to midfield, Niederhauser intercepted the pass and sprinted toward an open goal. Swenson ran as fast as he could to the goal, keeping an eye on the ball, but could not get back in time. Niederhauser had scored his fourth and final goal of the game.
By the end of the half Mountain Crest was up 7-3. The Mustangs we able to open the third with another early goal as midfielder Jordan Stuart picked up a rolling ground ball, which had left a wide-open path to the goal. With Mountain Crest up five points now, Spanish Fork shifted gears and began a scoring streak of their own. Ward again started the Warriors off with a sweet rebound goal. Spanish Fork was then able to score in a man-up position as midfielder Casey James made the assist to attackmen Jarom Plewe. Plewe shortly returned the favor as he assisted James in a goal.
At this point the game was within one point. Mountain Crest scored again as Stuart demonstrated his speed on a clear. After outrunning his defender, Stuart passed the ball to midfielder Erik Smith, who quickly put the ball into the net. Mountain Crest’s final goal of the third quarter, and the game, came as defender Brandon Tobey clear the ball coast to coast, dodging and rolling past defenders. Tobey made it face-to-face with the goalie and scored. The Mustangs were up 10-7 at this point.
Despite the fact that only one goal was made the entire fourth quarter, the game continued to get more exciting. Fans for both teams were cheering loudly on every great play. Defense was playing hard and goalies were making saves. Finally, at the 4:26 mark Spanish Fork was able to score as Plewe passed to attackmen Tyler Swenson from behind the goal. The Warriors continued to fight hard until the end, dominating possession from this point on, but unable to score. In the end Mountain Crest was able to kill the last minute to take home the 10-8 win.
Mountain Crest players, coaches and fans alike were stunned and excited for the win. This will be the first time Mountain Crest has been able to advance to the championship game.
“The ride defense just shut them down,” said Mountain Crest Head Coach Cody McKee. There was a glow on his face as he spoke, he was still in shock about the win. “This is the furthest we have been. Everyone is ecstatic.”
Mountain Crest moves on to battle the Waterford Ravens for the 2012 Boys D-II Championship on Saturday, May 19 at 4:00 pm. The game will take place at Brighton High School. Mountain Crest has 13 wins and just one loss this season and have not yet played Waterford. The Ravens have a record of 12-5 and will prove to be a great opponent.
Photo courtesy of Haslam Photography

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