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High school girls soccer: Woods Cross offense upsets Murray, 3-0

Woods Cross girls’ soccer’s home matchup with an undefeated Murray team that hadn’t yet allowed a goal in three contests didn’t carry the billing of an even matchup.

By the final whistle on Tuesday night, it was the Wildcats who had their way with the favored visitors.

Woods Cross prevailed convincingly in a big win over the Spartans, 3-0, handing them their first loss of the season. The Wildcats improved to 2-0 on the season after barely getting by Corner Canyon last Thursday in a shootout. Murray fell to 3-1.

“We knew that there was going to be parts of the game that we just had to work hard and defend,” Wildcats’ coach David Newman said, “but we also know that we’ve got weapons. We’ve got players that can attack and cause problems.”

The Wildcats had plenty of ways to cause problems for the Spartans as three different players found the back of the net for Woods Cross, none of whom were scorers in regulation time in their first game.

Woods Cross never let up on offense, keeping the ball in Murray’s territory for most of the second half. With only a minute remaining, Wildcats senior Kenzie Taylor put stamp on a big win, outracing the Spartans’ back line for an unassisted goal and a 3-0 victory.

“(Kenzie)’d just played almost 80 minutes,” Newman said, “and she picks the ball up and rolls it another 35 yards and has the mind to put the ball in the bottom left corner. You can be physically and mentally tired, but she did the right thing.”

Murray had some early misfortunes with injury timeouts to both sophomore Ava Talaeai and senior Lauren Fetzer. Fetzer went down a second time in the second half.

“It’s difficult,” Murray coach Brady Smith said. “That’s the spine, losing center backs and having to play people that haven’t been there, it changes the way you defend and attack.”

During a back-and forth battle in the first ten minutes, Murray senior forward Brooklyn Smith delivered a laser shot that nearly put the Spartans on the board, but the shot went a tad too high and clanked off the crossbar and back into play.

During a chaotic sequence in the 16th minute, the ball took a high bounce over a Murray defender’s head, and Wildcats senior Jaycie Bott got past the defense to fire home a shot for the first goal of the game, the first goal allowed by the Murray defense in their four games this season.

Newman said his team worked a lot on applying pressure on offense last week, and it clearly worked. Woods Cross was in attack mode for most of the first 10 minutes in the second half.

In the 58th minute, Murray’s desperation grew even more when a hand-ball penalty inside the goalbox put Woods Cross junior Oakley Anderson on the line for a free shot, which she drilled into the left side for a 2-0 lead.

Playing on a turf football field in 90-degree-plus heat, Murray coach Brady Smith said the conditions were a small factor in what was an otherwise disappointing showing for the Spartans.

“I’m disappointed in the effort and energy we put out,” Smith said. “Woods Cross made some solid plays, but two of the goals were mistakes, and that’s what it comes down to. I want this team to be together at all three levels. We weren’t together at all three levels today.”

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