It's a testament to the mentality they have and the belief they have in our system. It was just a mindset that we were going to get through it. —Viewmont coach Emalee Tate
DRAPER — Viewmont sophomore McKenna Kimber couldn't have imagined a more ideal scenario to score the first goal of her high school career.
The Vikings had scored 86 goals prior to Tuesday's 5A girls soccer semifinals, but Kimber's double-overtime strike against rival Davis proved to be the most dramatic of them all as it lifted Viewmont to a thrilling 2-1 victory at Juan Diego High School.
"That was the most exciting game I've ever played," the unheralded midfielder said.
With the victory Viewmont advances to its third-straight 5A state championship game and will face No. 1 Alta at Rio Tinto Stadium Friday at 4:30 p.m.
"The girls are just elated, completely elated to be there, nothing but joy and excitement for them," Viewmont coach Emalee Tate said.
Laura Essig created the decisive goal with a perfect through ball into the box in the first minute of the second overtime.
Viewmont striker Karrie Pead — who scored the Vikes' first goal — appeared to be in great position to uncork a shot of her own, but she got tangled with a defender just inside the box. Kimber, however, continued her run into the box and found herself unmarked and in perfect position to calmly slot home the winning goal.
The goal occurred with Viewmont attacking into a stiff wind, which was the underlying theme of the match.
Viewmont attacked with the wind throughout the first half and capitalized in the 28th minute as Pead out jumped Davis' keeper to head in the opening goal for the 1-0 advantage.
Davis didn't panic the rest of the half knowing it would have the luxury of attacking with the wind in the second half. Sure enough, two minutes into the second half momentum completely swung in Davis' favor as Emma Farley tied the game at 1-1 on a 35-yard shot from the right side of the midfield.
Having just allowed the equalizer, Viewmont now faced the daunting task of trying to hold off the Darts' wind-aided attack for the next 38 minutes. Though it looked bleak at times, somehow the Vikings managed to survive the rest of regulation.
"We have taught our girls from the start of conditioning back in June just being mentally tough and playing through adverse conditions and being mentally strong," Tate said. "It's a testament to the mentality they have and the belief they have in our system. It was just a mindset that we were going to get through it."
Viewmont had the benefit of the wind in the first overtime, but ironically enough, its breakthrough didn't come until the second overtime.
Viewmont lost to Brighton and Alta in its championship game appearances the past two seasons, but Pead is optimistic about a breakthrough.
"I know that we can win this thing, there's no doubt in my mind. The third times the charm," Pead said.