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High school girls soccer: Cedar Valley edges Olympus in 5A quarters

Varsity minutes have been rare for Cedar Valley junior Aubrey King this season, with the bulk of her playtime coming at the JV level. She was given extended minutes in Thursday’s 5A quarterfinal because of her high energy level and absolutely made the most of them.

King pounced on a misplayed ball from Olympus’ keeper in the final minute, burying the ball into the empty net as No. 5 Cedar Valley edged No. 4 Olympus 1-0 in a stalemate throughout with few chances for either team.

With the win, the Aviators advance to the semifinals for the first time in school history, and coach Cedar Valley said the resilience to finally clear that quarterfinal hurdle was key.

“It’s massive. Every year we’ve got to the quarters, and we’ve fought hard, but we’ve always fell at that last hurdle. That resilience part has always been missing,” said Hart, whose team improved to 16-2 with the win.

King rotated into the game for about 15 minutes in the first half for fresh legs, and then in the second half when she rotated back in, Hart said she was “so good I couldn’t take her out.”

Her high pressure allowed her to be in perfect position to tap in a misplayed ball by Olympus’ keeper after a ball was sent into the box from Brynn Bassett.

“We brought a bunch of young, eager JV girls up to help, and she was fresh legs,” said Hart.

The goal was King’s first varsity goal of the season.

Under normal circumstances, King wouldn’t have been on the field in that late-game situation, but she was an asset with her effectiveness executing the game plan.

“One of the things that coaches wanted the most was for us to force them inside, to make them play the ball through the middle,” said King. “One thing I was doing really good was forcing them inside and dropping back, and doing my job. I think I’m a really teachable person and I think she saw that and liked that.”

While those tactics paid dividends in the attack in the final minutes, defensively the biggest focus all game for Cedar Valley was to mark Olympus star Hope Munson out of the game.

“I thought a lot of their game revolves around her, so if we closed her down we could stay in the game,” said Hart.

He handed that task to senior Bailey McArthur, normally one of the Aviators top attacking players. On Thursday her job was to simply go wherever McArthur went.

After the game, McArthur raved about the skill of Olympus’ standout freshman, but she got equal praise from her coach in trusting the game plan and limiting Munson’s effectiveness.

Neither team could get much going in the attack throughout Thursday’s quarterfinal, with the occasional half-chance about all either could generate. In the final 10 minutes of regulation though, the intensity picked up, and McArthur said that’s what she loves about soccer.

“It’s indescribable, it is why we keep playing soccer, it is why we love it so much, those little moments and those final minutes,” said McArthur.

Coach Hart said his team relished the role of underdog as the lower seed against Olympus, but in the semifinals next Tuesday the Aviators will be back to being the higher seed when they face No. 8 seed Bountiful.

That game will take place at Juan Diego High School at 10 a.m.

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