BOUNTIFUL – It was a rough start to the soccer season for the Bountiful Braves, who started 0-2 after losses to Viewmont and Wasatch.
Friday afternoon in the comforts of home (field), Bountiful took care of its second Region 6 opponent, knocking off Highland 2-0 behind goals from Alex Simpson and Carsen Tinker.
“We learned a lot in those preseason games,” said Braves coach Lou Plank. “I wish we could play them again, but I’m excited that we got off to a good start in region. We’re starting to come together at the right time.”
The match was scoreless through the first 39 minutes until Simpson, a junior captain, was able to split two Highland defenders for the 1-0 lead. The goal came right before the end of the first half, and Plank said it was important for the team moving ahead.
The second goal, scored by Tinker, happened in the 42nd minute and kick-started a couple of other scoring opportunities for Bountiful before the game ended.
Tinker’s goal started with the Braves moving the ball through the middle of the field, and then switched the point of attack to the near side of the field. Jake Haddock took the initial shot from about 20 yards away, but the Highland goalkeeper was able to save the shot.
The ball bounced off his hands; however, and Tinker kicked in the rebound for Bountiful to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.
“(Tinker) did as he should have in that opportunity,” Plank said. “He just picked up the garbage and tapped it in. That was a nice goal.”
Six minutes later, Bountiful had an opportunity to go up three goals after being granted a penalty kick.
Simpson took the shot, but it was saved.
“He just guessed correctly, there’s nothing you can do about that,” Plank said. “In the last game he had two penalty kicks, and overall he’s been a dynamite player for us so far.”
Highland had an opportunity to cut Bountiful’s lead in half, but a header by Jesus Miranda hit the side post and bounced back into play, allowing the Braves to clear out the ball.
“That was a great shot,” Plank said. “It did everything but go in, but Cole (Palmer) was able to get his fingertips on it. He’s a high-quality keeper with some good mentors.”
The game ended without either side threatening to score.
Bountiful improved to 2-2 overall and is 2-0 to start Region 6 play. Palmer picked up his first shutout of the season at the net. Simpson’s goal was his fifth of the season. Tinker’s second half goal was his first.
The Braves will face Clearfield at Clearfield High School on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.