WASHINGTON TERRACE — As the referee deliberately paced off 12 steps away from the goal, Farmington keeper Naomi Kehl waited nervously in front of the net in the 72nd minute Thursday afternoon.
Bonneville sophomore Rylee Lopaz lined up the penalty kick and rocketed a shot just inside the right post, which Kehl dove for and deflected.
The ball ricocheted in front of the net and Kehl recovered, dove again and gathered it, absorbing a kick in the chops in the process and preserving a 1-0 Phoenix lead.
Farmington added a cushion goal just more than three minutes later and effectively captured the Region 5 soccer title with two games to go, by way of a 2-0 road victory over the Lakers, sweeping the season series.
“I’m just thinking I’ve got to save this for my team; this is a big game. It’s basically for the region championship,” Kehl said. “I read where she was going and I was able to make it.
“PK’s are hard; I just kind of reacted and went with my gut. I thought she’s going to go this way, so I guessed ahead of time and jumped that way and got the save ... I got on top of it and (a Bonneville player) followed through and kicked my face, kicked my chest, my head, so I had to take a second to relax.”
Kehl’s save made Abigail Ferrell’s 11th-minute goal off a corner kick from Kalea Woodyatt the game-winner, then Abby Orison closed the scoring with 3:42 left to play.
“All yesterday, we practiced corners for like an hour,” Ferrell said. “It just shows that hard work pays off and I had a feeling that corners were going to change this game today. There were a few times (yesterday) when I rubbed that post and I scored twice off of it in practice.”
First year Farmington coach Sarah Beecher has led the Phoenix (14-0, 8-0 Region 5) to a glossy undefeated record and number one ranking in the 5A RPI.
“It’s awesome that we’re winning and are undefeated; I love being a part of these girl’s lives and being a positive influence for them,” Beecher said. “Trying to show them that hard work does pay off and that’s what our season has shown.
“A region championship was our first goal, but now we want to win state,” Beecher said. “I think a loss at the beginning of the season would have been fine, but now, we can go 20-0 with the talent on this team; I don’t want to lose.”
Bonneville (10-4, 6-2) pressed the Phoenix the whole game but couldn’t break through with a goal.
Elle Burton had a penalty kicked blocked in the first five minutes of the game and Lopaz was wide left early in the second half. The Lakers also hit the crossbar late in the second stanza.
“If I look at my stats, we probably out-shot them 20-5,” Bonneville coach Gavin Garside said. “We had the possession the whole time, but you have to take advantage of the opportunities you get.
“In high school soccer, if you have that level of keeper (Kehl), good things are going to happen to you,” Garside said. “This was the region championship game, basically, but we can build off of this. The girls shouldn’t be down.”