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Prep boys’ soccer: Murray tops Hillcrest for region title

Paul Fraughton / Salt Lake Tribune Murray goal keeper Spencer Critchfield kicks the ball away from the goal for a save. Murray High School defeated Hillcrest 2to1 on Murray's field. Thursday, May 10, 2012

By Bill Oram

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published May 10 2012 10:08PM
Updated May 11, 2012 08:07AM

Murray • Jordan Erekson was describing his game-winning goal when he interrupted himself.

"Did Skyline win?" the Murray midfielder asked.

"I think that’s why they’re celebrating," Spartans coach Bryan DeMann responded.

Erekson’s teammates, off the side of the field, were in a dogpile, a far more emphatic celebration than the one that followed Murray’s 2-1 win over Hillcrest minutes earlier.

This one was a bigger deal.

"Tie!" Alex Wilkinson said, running past Erekson. "Region champs."

By virtue of Skyline’s 1-1 draw with Olympus, Murray (10-4-2) surged to the top of Region 7, after entering the day with a chance of finishing first, second or third.

"It just adds to the moment," Erekson said.

The moment was already pretty special for Erekson, a senior three-year starter who in the 49th minute scored just his third goal of the season. It was a dramatic volley from 25 yards out. Erekson turned and struck the ball, which lofted above Hillcrest’s diving goalkeeper, Jesus Alarcon.

"He was playing the shot," DeMann said. "Just playing smart, waiting for an opportunity."

Combined with Andrew Clayton’s goal from early in the first half, the Spartans had enough to hold off Hillcrest, which got its lone goal off a 67th minute free kick from Trentin Atkin.

Murray avenged a 2-0 loss at Hillcrest on April 23.

The Spartans reached the Class 5A semifinals each of the last two years. Now in their first year in 4A, they appear to be surging at the right time.

"If we play our game and play the way we want to," defender Thomas Rodriguez said, "we can play with anybody."

Twitter: @oramb

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