FARMINGTON — For whatever reason, high school soccer officials are hesitant to apply the advantage rule.
Since soccer is a sport of continuous play, the advantage rule exists so a referee may keep the game going if a foul is committed but whistling that foul would stop an advantageous situation and benefit the offending team.
The rule is commonly seen in the professional and college ranks but Tuesday, Bonneville High (11-1, 5-1 Region 5) had a player fouled in its match at Farmington, the side judge signaled for a foul, the head referee declared play on and Lakers sophomore Summer Diamond belted a 26-yard shot into the top corner that served as the game-winner in a 2-1 first-place battle.
Earlier this year, the Phoenix beat Bonneville 2-0 and Farmington (8-2, 4-2 Region 5) edged the Lakers for the Region 5 title last year. The two teams entered Tuesday in a three-way tie for first place in the region with Viewmont.
With four region games left, Bonneville and Viewmont, the latter of which played late Tuesday night, will likely be tied atop the standings.
“The girls just have to come out and play their game, be patient and don’t let the outside noise get to them. Just focus on what’s inside the lines, that’s it,” Bonneville head coach Gavin Garside said.
The Lakers found the breakthrough with barely a minute left before halftime when Rylee Lopaz hit a superb cross that was volleyed in by Elle Burton — coming after Farmington goalkeeper Natalie Maire had done well to save some tough shots hit her way.
“Great one-touch,” Garside said of the goal.
Early in the second half, Phoenix defender Kennedy Freeman cleared a header off the goal line from a corner kick as the Lakers sought to double their lead.
There would be no such doubling of the lead. Swayzee Arnell headed in Marianne Barber’s corner and Farmington tied things up with plenty of time for the Phoenix to find a winner.
A handful of minutes later, Diamond had her arm raised, celebrating her long-distance strike that ended up being the game-winner. She had been the chief troublemaker for Farmington’s defense all afternoon.
“The second half was a battle. The first half I felt like we possessed very well, they were chasing a lot. Second half, (Farmington) came out hot, they’re a very good team but our girls figured it out. They relied on each other and pulled it out,” Garside said.
Lakers goalkeeper Abree Beardall stretched to her right to keep out a low effort by Arnell and preserve the lead. Beardall saved two long-range takes in the final five minutes as well, both from Makiya Christensen.
As of Tuesday morning, Bonneville, Farmington and Viewmont held the top three spots in the 5A RPI standings, which would guarantee a first-round bye in the playoffs, should the season progress that far.
Some are worried that the playoffs are still a big “if.”
Rising COVID-19 cases and positivity rates in the state, mostly centered in Utah County but still slightly rising in Weber and Davis, have many worried that things are about to get bad again.
There are strict protocols in place at public schools, protocols imposed by local school districts as well as the governor, mandating mask-wearing and physical distancing inside all school buildings, as well as at all sporting events.
Farmington’s PA announcer thanked fans for their “continued wearing of masks,” even though about 70% of Farmington’s fans, 60% of the traveling Bonneville fans and hardly any of the Lakers players on the bench were wearing masks.
Physical distancing has been another element that’s followed only sometimes, at best. Both sets of players on the bench were seated shoulder-to-shoulder even though there was room to spread out on the benches or elsewhere.
Enforcement of these protocols has also been spotty, and apparently depends on which schools are involved in a contest.