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Sandy • For the past two years Woods Cross has had to watch as its season ended on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
For 70 minutes Thursday, it looked like things might be heading that way again. Then, the No. 2 seeded Wildcats made sure that history would not repeat itself, and the Noel sisters played a very big part in the 1-0 victory over top-seeded Alta.
Throughout the first half, both teams struggled to get into the flow of the game. Neither team could find the back of the net, with the best chance of the half coming from Woods Cross, when senior Amanda Mangelson found herself open in the box and headed the ball off the post.
Woods Cross held its own on defense, with goalkeeper Rachel Noel coming up big on multiple occasions.
"We had to change things up two or three times to deal with what Alta was giving up. Throughout the season we were dealing with multiple injuries, but the girls were able to change and did it on the fly against a really good team," said Woods Cross coach David Newman.
The game increased in intensity as the score remained 0-0 during the second half.
The Wildcats' bench erupted in the 71st minute when junior Sara Noel gained possession of the ball and drilled it past the keeper from 10 yards.
"I was just so happy. I knew it was going in. It was such a good feeling," said Sara Noel.
For Woods Cross, this game meant a little more than usual, not only because it was a big playoff game, but because history has not been kind.
"The last two years we have lost in the quarters on penalties so we knew coming in, playing Alta, that this was a huge game for us. Mentally this is massive. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, today we got lucky," said Newman.
After going 15-2 during the regular season and 14-0 in league play, Alta watched as its season came to a shocking end. Woods Cross advances to the semifinals on Tuesday to play East.
"Our goalkeeper came up really big with a couple of big saves, and then her sister goes down on the other end and scores. Those last 10 minutes felt like 10 years," added Newman.