Rasmussen, Murri and Co. seemed to head nearly every East aerial into the box, constantly steering the Hawks (11-4-2), who won the Class 5A title a year ago, from danger.
"Our back line won every ball out of the air and cleared it out," said Alta junior midfielder Zach Maas, who scored in the 36th minute to record the game's only goal. "And our goalkeeper made some great saves on free kicks. Those five back there kept us in the game for sure."
Syrett's biggest save came in the game's final five minutes on a Daniel Rhondeau free kick that glanced off the wall and toward the top of the net. Syrett adjusted and made a leaping, one-handed punch to direct the ball over the crossbar.
"I knew he was going to go up over the wall," Syrett said. "I saw it hit the wall and it went up higher, so it had a little bit of arc to it, and a little more time for me to get up to it."
It was the second time the Leopards (12-4-1) have been shut out this season. The entered the game with 45 goals, fifth-best in 4A.
Alta advanced to play Maple Mountain or Skyline in Friday's second round.
"The defense in front of me is amazing," Syrett said. "We have a ton of height, and we have experience to know where the ball is going and where it's going to land."
Maas' free kick from 38 yards out appeared to baffle East goalkeeper Trever Elders, who never made an attempt at the ball as it sailed over his head.
"I was focused on getting a good ball to the box to give my team a good chance," said Maas, regarding his eighth goal of the season. "Maybe the wind held it up a little bit. I caught him off his line and it went in. It's the luck of the game."
• Zach Maas scores on a free kick from 38 yards out in the 36th minute.
• East, last year's state runner-up, is shut out for the second time this season.
• Goalkeeper Chandler Syrett posts his 10th shutout for Alta, the defending Class 5A champion.