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Pleasant Groves Scores Late to Capture Key Conference Win

Pleasant Grove v. Spanish Fork

A hard-fought battle between D-I contenders Spanish Fork and Pleasant Grove ended in dramatic fashion Monday night as a the Vikings shot deflected off the keeper with 11 seconds to go and was then flicked in for the garbage goal by Viking Midfielder McKay Daniel for the game-winner, ending the contest 10-9.  The end of the game was indicative of how the entire contest was played: a physical, leave-it-all-on-the-field contest between two deep teams who were each looking to move up in potential playoff seeding.
Although the teams were very evenly matched, it took the Warriors to adjust to the stifling Pleasant Grove ride, which made it difficult for Spanish Fork to maintain possession and resulted in two early goals for the Vikings.  A non-releasable stick penalty on Pleasant Grove opened the door for the Warriors, however, and they answered with two man-up goals, including a Casey James shot that rocked the pipe, to tie the game at 2-2. But the Vikings returned the favor, taking advantage of a Warrior penalty, and McKay Daniel came off a pick on the crease to put one home, giving Pleasant Grove a one-goal advantage after one, 3-2.
Pleasant Grove v. Spanish Fork
After a stick penalty during the quarter on Spanish Fork, the Vikings picked up right where they left off with Chad Renslow catching and finishing on the doorstep for another man-up goal and giving the Vikings the two goal edge.  After some physical back-and-forth, the Warriors’ Tyson Gee found the back of the net off a wing roll dodge and Casey James got back-to-back tallies by using a beautiful two-man game behind the cage.  Pleasant Grove, looking to keep things tight, then grabbed a late goal to even things up at 5-5 at the half.
Another Warrior stick penalty gave the Vikings the ball to start the third quarter, and while the Spanish Fork man-down unit did a pretty fantastic job, they did give up one goal in the three penalty minutes.  The ball then spent a lot of time on the ground between the boxes, with neither team able to successfully clear and minutes being quickly eaten away.  Pleasant Grove broke the stalemate late when they finally cleared the ball and executed a textbook slow break for the Samuel Anderson goal and giving them the 7-5 lead going into the fourth.
In the fourth quarter the Warriors showed why they have quickly become a contender in only their first season as a D-I team.  Jake Merrill got the comeback rolling with a quick goal on the doorstep and Kyle Allsop sent high heat to the top corner to tie the game at 7-7.  Pleasant Grove pushed back, however, with back-to-back goals of their own including a Jacob Windley power dodge through three defenders.  After another Spanish Fork goal, and with only 1:30 left in the game, Warrior middie Tyler Swenson nabbed the equalizer when he caught a feed and finished on the crease, knotting things up at 9-9.  After some quick back-and-forth, Pleasant Grove called a timeout with possession and under a minute to play.  The Viking play seemed to work beautifully as they moved the ball effortlessly around the horn and found an open man for the shot, but it bounced off the chest protector of the Warrior keeper and fell motionless about four yards in front of the Spanish Fork goal.  A mad scramble for the ball resulted in McKay Daniel’s late-game heroics as he flicked the ball home to seal the game, 10-9 Vikings.
Coach Brae Burbidge’s thoughts on the game: “It was a good, tight game.  Spanish Fork did a great job.  We’ve had six injured varsity players, so guys like McKay Daniels and Chad Madsen have done a great job stepping up big.  This was a big game, conference-wise, and we had to have this mentally.  Now that [we] know [we] can do it [win big games with players out injured], that’s a big thing for us.”
Pleasant Grove (8-8, 5-3) faces a huge challenge visiting No. 1 Juan Diego on Thursday, while Spanish Fork (8-6, 4-3) will test No. 2 Lone Peak’s perfect record on the same day.

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