Cedar scored six goals in the final 40 minutes against Juab on Wednesday, cruising to a 7-0 victory in the first round of the 3A state soccer playoffs.
Nicole Jenkins scored four goals as the Lady Reds’ offense dominated possession of the ball from whistle to whistle and made a hard day for the Wasps’ defense.
“It was good to start out (the playoffs) with some confidence,” Jenkins said. “The first round is out of the way but we still have three more games to play.”
The Lady Reds now take their show to Park City for the quarterfinal match against the Miners on Saturday.
“I feel very ready and confident with my team. I believe in all of them,” said MaKenna Clark, who made it a 5-0 game on a penalty kick midway through the second half. “We all work very well together and we’re very bonded.”
While they monopolized the ball and made Juab keeper Kerica Jeffs possibly the busiest person in Utah, the mission to find the net proved futile for most of the opening stanza.
Jenkins gave Cedar a 1-0 lead six minutes into the match with a short shot coming out of traffic, but Cedar couldn’t buy a goal for the rest of the frame.
Shot after shot sailed wide, high or was stopped by Jeffs, who had an amazing performance in the box despite the loss.
Much of the trouble came from Juab crowding the box and forcing the Reds to shoot from long distance or from the wings.
“It was really packed in the box, so the ball was bouncing around a lot,” Jenkins said. “We were off a little in our shooting and their goalie was just really good. We just realized that we had to step up the pace.”
And step it up they did.
Jenkins needed just 56 seconds to figure the Wasps out in the second half, beating the crowd to the box and winning a one-on-one with Jeffs to put Cedar ahead 2-0.
She mirrored the score just two minutes later, getting the hat trick and a 3-0 lead in minute 43.
After several attempts at scoring on a cross kick, the Reds finally got one to work when Brooklyn Shakespeare fed one to Jenkins from the right wing, who stuck it in for her final goal of the match.
Clark’s penalty kick made it 5-0 and the Reds got scores from Morgan Myers and Holly Carpenter to close it out.
As one-sided as Wednesday’s win was, Cedar knows the road to a repeat only gets more difficult from here as they face a Park City squad that is riding a nine-game win streak and won the Region 10 crown with an 8-0 record.
“It will definitely be a lot harder,” Jenkins acknowledged. “Park City is a good team and they always play well on their home field.”