LAYTON — Tiani Fonoti converted a penalty kick in the 54th minute to send Northridge’s girls soccer to next week’s 6A state semifinals following a 1-0 win Thursday at home against Lone Peak.
It was her team-leading 13th goal of the year and it wasn’t even the first time this week, let alone this season, the senior forward scored a vital goal.
On her season resume, she has the lone goal in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Skyridge, both goals in a 2-0 win at Fremont that clinched the region title, two golden-goal winners in separate games against Roy and the lone goal in an early season win over Davis.
But if you ask her and head coach Wyatt Kennah, here’s who they both lauded praise on: the defensive back line.
“They were amazing. They saved us 99% of the time, honestly,” Fonoti said.
“Our back line played amazing. Halle Kap was out of this world, she’s proven why she’s one of the best backs in the entire state,” Kennah said.
It was apparent from the opening kickoff that Lone Peak would dictate the pace of play, meaning Northridge (15-2-1) was going to have to play out of its own half for most of the game, deal with pressure and deal with a ton of shots.
That also meant Northridge was only going to have a handful of chances at the LP goal.
Northridge really ended up with three chances. In the first half, the ball got on Fonoti’s foot while she was in midair, hence a shot that went over the goal.
The second chance was the penalty kick Fonoti placed into the bottom right corner after sprinting through the defense and being hauled down in the box.
The third was a Fonoti free kick in the 71st minute from about 23 yards away that ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar.
Between those three chances was an onslaught of LP corner kicks, possession, threatening passes and shots on goal, only to be thwarted by timely Northridge clearances.
Timely intervention by Northridge’s defenders made sure LP never had any wide-open looks at goal. Everything LP sent at NHS goalkeeper JaCee Berry was dealt with easily, save for an awkward long kick that bounced over Berry’s head and onto the bar in the first half.
The quarterfinals have recently been the ending point of many Northridge playoff runs — except a 2012 semifinal appearance — including last year against the same Lone Peak team, which was the eventual 6A champion.
Not this year.
“We wanted a little revenge for last year,” Kennah said. “It was virtually the whole team (coming back) so they’re like, ‘Yeah, we owe ‘em one.’”