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Spanish Fork Fights Hard, Juan Diego Comes Out On Top

Juan Diego Midfielder Alex Day
Juan Diego Midfielder Alex Day c/o ShootingStar Photography

The Soaring Eagle of Juan Diego took on the Spanish Fork Warriors Thursday night in Sandy. Both teams fought hard and played well, but Juan Diego, returning D-I Champions, brought home the 15-5 win.
Spanish Fork is new this season to D-I and this was a great opportunity to prove themselves and to learn. This was the first time they were to compete against Juan Diego. Although Juan Diego came out on top, Spanish Fork played excellently and fought hard through all four quarters.
The game began with Juan Diego immediately taking possession of the ball. Their offense was smooth. They were passing and setting up plays well. The Warriors defense was prepared, however. They were playing a very tight defense; Juan Diego really had to work for a good shot. As they started to fire away, Warrior Goalie Morgan Dunn deflected them away. Juan Diego continued to recover the ball and continued to shoot, eventually scoring four goals in the first quarter, led by attackmen Tommy Maddox.

Juan Diego Midfielder Alex Day
Juan Diego Attackmen Luke Graney Shoots & Scores c/o ShootingStar Photography
Between goals, Juan Diego held possession of the ball most of the quarter. Spanish Fork struggled to complete their clears and keep the ball on the offensive end of the field. They were held to just two shots in the quarter, and no goals to show for it.
As the second quarter rolled in, the Warriors came out with fire in their eyes. They were determined to fix their offense, and so they did. Their first goal of the quarter, and of the game, came when Soaring Eagle goalie stepped out of the crease to defend attackmen Casey James. James rolled off the defense of the goalie and scored on an open net. This got the Spanish Fork team fired up.
“I don’t know what we had for lunch today,” commented Juan Diego Head Coach Patrick Lambert, “I am assuming double cheeseburgers and extra curly fries, because man did we start out flat. There was no question about it. I don’t know it’s the fact that they are new to DI, maybe my boys were overlooking them.”
Spanish Fork began a new play, attempting to shoot from the outside. The play worked the first two times. Attackmen Jarom Plewe and midfielder Tyler Swenson both scored off powerful shots taken from the top of the restraining box. By the end of the first half, Spanish Fork was able to narrow Juan Diego’s lead, bring the score to 6 – 4.
“All week,” continued Lambert, “we have been saying, ‘gentleman, these guys are for real,’ and no question about it, they were. That is sometimes a challenge for us. You’ve gotta recognize that this is a good team coming in here and they want to beat Juan Diego. So you know they’re going to be bringing their energy.”
However, Juan Diego was not about to let the new kids on the block defeat them at home. They came out in the second half like the returning champions they are. Soaring Eagle defense stepped it up, holding Spanish Fork without a goal again. On offense, they were again passing and setting up their plays.
The last half of the game was riddled with penalties. There were less minutes will both teams fully-staffed than there were with someone in the penalty box. Despite being one or even two men up, both teams were struggling to convert on the power plays. Juan Diego did score one goal in a man-up situation in the third. They patiently passed the ball, kept it moving constantly until they had the play. Midfielder Ryan Green scored the goal, assisted by midfielder Nick Grogg.
Just ten seconds into the final quarter, Juan Diego added another point to their total. Tyler Stevenson won the face-off. He then passed it down to attackmen Luke Graney, who quickly sent it to attackmen Riley Roderick for the goal. Juan Diego continued at this pace throughout the rest of the game. They were able to add six more points during the final quarter, including a couple fast break goals where Juan Diego offense found themselves one-on-one with the goalie due to Spanish Fork turnovers. The game ended with Juan Diego up 10 to five over the Warriors.
“Stevenson at face-off did a really nice job,” said Coach Lambert. “Luke Graney, no question, was an animal out there at attackmen. Maddox started the game really well. He did a really nice job of keeping us ahead early on. Being able to take on some of the burden. Defensively, I don’t think we played our best defensive game. I don’t think we were talking much. But I thought Stevenson at face-off gave us a lot of momentum.”
After the game, coach Lambert was seen talking to Spanish Fork coach Phil Dunn, no doubt complimenting them on the game and also giving them a few pointers for the season.
“I would like to see our boys take every team seriously,” he said, talking about their plans for the season. “I felt like at times we were getting a little loose. There were times where there were almost too many smiles on the bench. We’ve gotta get back to doing the grunt work.”
Juan Diego will compete against the Judge Memorial Bulldogs this Sunday the 17th. Judge is currently sitting at 2-0 for the season. Spanish Fork will move on the play the Weber Warriors on Tuesday the 19th. Weber’s opening games had been cancelled and will compete against Spanish Fork for their season opener.

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