Manti Lady Templar No. 22, Jayci Jolley, drives the ball against a Morgan High defender on Oct. 20 in a Utah State 3A girls soccer semi-final game. Morgan won the match, 1-0, and went on to become state champs later in the tournament.

Manti, N. Sanpete falter in

3A state soccer semi-finals

 

Teams come one game short of facing each other for state championship

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

Oct. 26, 2017

 

SANDY—The Lady Templars and Lady Hawks both fell in the semi-finals of the 3A state soccer championships, just a stone’s throw away from an in-county match for the state title.

In what Manti soccer coach Elesha Steinfeldt called a “show of heart,” the Lady Templars fell to Morgan High in the semi-finals on Oct. 20 at Jordan High School, 1-0.

Both teams struggled to maintain possession in the first half, fighting back and forth through the mid-field. Neither team really could put together a strong scoring opportunity.

Manti was able to get one break-away that came up empty, and Morgan’s possessions fizzled out in Manti’s half of the field.

In the second half, Morgan’s mid-fielders began to assert their will on possession, and the Lady Trojans began to put together runs into the Manti half of the field. At the 13-minute mark, Morgan finally broke through and scored the game’s only goal.

The Lady Templars tried to counter-attack with desperate energy, but could not convert their chances.

After the game, Steinfeldt put the game in perspective. “I’m really proud of the girls. They fought every minute. At 1-0, this is the best any 3A team has [scored] against Morgan.”

Morgan High went on to win the championship the next day against Judge Memorial, 4-1.

North Sanpete got about as close to the coveted state title as Manti and also fell in the semi-finals. But that represented a big improvement from earlier in the year when they were getting “mercy-ruled” out of games. The team surprised everyone, pulling the season together enough to make state semi-finals.

Despite their surprising growth as a team, the Lady Hawks fell to the Judge Memorial, 6-1.

The Lady Hawks had a hard time getting possession from Judge Memorial and played most of the game in their own end of the field.  The team held on defense for almost 20 minutes until the Lady Bulldogs broke through. After that, the dam burst, and a barrage of shots resulted in more goals.

There was one bright spot in the game for the Lady Hawks. At the 31-minute mark of the first half, North Sanpete scored a free kick from 50 yards from the Lady Bulldog goal. Sophie Duijn took the kick, which hit the top bar of the goal and bounced behind the keeper for North Sanpete’s only goal of the game.

North Sanpete Coach Mickel Holder said “We had jitters at first, and that first goal got us out of our rhythm, and the game got away from us.”

However, she says she was impressed how much her team had improved over the year.     “That we made it here was great,” she said. “With a new coach, a very young team, I did not think we would make it here. We progressed a lot.”

 

The Lady Hawks defend against a Judge Memorial offense during the 3A state semi-finals on Friday. Judge Memorial pulled off a strong 6-1 win over North Sanpete, but lost to Morgan in the finals.