RIVERTON — The Hillcrest Huskies took advantage of the Wednesday winds to open up the boys soccer season with a cross-classification victory.
The 4A team defeated the Riverton Silverwolves of 5A, 1-0, in the 2013 debut for both squads.
“I think it’s rough,” Hillcrest coach Brett Davis said of playing the first match. “Neither team gets a lot of time on a grass field in a big space.”
Getting the contest in before predicted rains hit was a crucial opportunity for both teams to stretch their legs.
“Both teams are just kind of sorting this out. Both teams took a chance where they had a good run during play and where they struggled to put things together,” Davis continued. “Both teams needed an opportunity to get out on a big field and play a bit.”
It took some time for the Huskies to settle into their groove, but in the 35th minute senior Ali Kalikish put Hillcrest on the board.
The Huskies were pressing and controlled the ball on the Riverton side of midfield. Senior Chandler Boyd controlled the ball with a path to the goal.
“(He) probably had a good chance to (score), but he plays unselfishly across at a diagonal keeping the goalkeeper out of position,” Davis said of the scoring sequence. “Then Ali slotted it back to the opposite post so the goalkeeper really had to spin around a bit.”
Hillcrest took the lead into the halftime break, and then went flat.
“In the second half, we were tired mentally and physically,” Davis said. “We played with a lot of heart, but we didn’t play as sharp, as quality of soccer in the second half. Riverton nearly took advantage of us on that.”
The Silverwolves created chances to score, but were hampered with multiple momentum-breaking yellow cards. Hillcrest goalkeepers Eric Walker, a senior, and Jorge Cisneros, a sophomore, also added a handful of excellent saves.
“It was kind of blah,” Riverton coach Paul Moizer said of his team’s opening outing. “We never quite got clicking; we never moved very well; we just kind of lulled ourselves to sleep almost. I thought we would be better going into the wind because we kept going too long in the first half, but it kind of died in the second half.”
He echoed Davis’ sentiment that his team had not had much opportunity to practice outdoors, adding, “We kind of have a new system from last year. It’s just going to take awhile to get going. We just never quite got that final pass right today.”
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org