The girls have believed in it, they have wanted (the title) and nothing less. Losing was not an option. —Viewmont coach Emalee Tate
SANDY — For the Viewmont girls' soccer team, the third try is most definitely the charm.
The Vikings used their third consecutive trip to the 5A state championship match to get over the hurdle and take home the gold trophy, defeating the defending champion Alta Hawks, 1-0, in double overtime.
The Vikings lost to Alta by the same score in last year's title matchup — and to Brighton by the same score the year prior — but Viewmont coach Emalee Tate knew that history wasn't going to repeat a third time.
"These girls were not going to let us lose today," she said after the game at Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday evening.
"These girls have worked so hard from Day One. From conditioning to everything that we've done all year, the girls have believed in it. They have wanted (the title) and nothing less," Tate continued. "Losing was not an option."
Each team took turns controlling the tempo of the game. The Vikings had three quick corner kicks to pressure the Alta defense and goalkeeper Elyssa Hashimoto, but the Hawks also put the Viewmont defense and goalkeeper Ashley Earnshaw on its toes for much of the game.
Alta junior Bizzy Phillips and Viewmont senior Heidi Lorscheider were very active throughout the contest, requiring the opposing defense to constantly keep tabs on them.
It was in the 95th minute that the Vikings finally broke through. Ella Johnson headed in a corner kick.
"Abbie Flandro served the ball in, and it was a great ball," Johnson said. "We had good pressure on the keeper, so she just couldn't quite get solid hands on it. I was right there and stuck it in the back of the net."
Johnson acknowledged that both teams had been playing well, but said she knew it would be the Vikings in the end.
"I thought we had been controlling the overtime pretty well, I wasn't too nervous," she said. "They hadn't had it on our end too much; I knew we would put one away eventually."
Johnson is a senior defender who was pulled up for the corner kick situation. It was just her fifth goal of the season and her seventh overall.
"This was our (seniors) last chance," she said. "We have a fantastic team, so much talent, and against Alta, it couldn't have been set up better."
Earnshaw had eight shutouts on the season and Lorscheider led the Vikings with a team-high 18 goals. Viewmont finished the season with a record of 19-1-0. The Vikings were a perfect 10-0-0 in Region 1 play, and suffered their only loss to Lone Peak — a team they met again, and beat, in the state tournament.
The championship is the third ever for the Vikings' girls' soccer program. The other titles were won in 1993 and 1998.
"There are no words to describe the feeling, the elation of the girls today. This is absolutely incredible," Tate said. "They battled and they battled and did not ever give up one second. Being for the last two years … this was just a testament to the work they've put in."5 comments on this story
The loss was the only one of the season for Alta, which has won seven championships since 2001. The Hawks finished the season with a record of 18-1-1 overall and 9-0-1 in Region 3 play. Hashimoto had 8.25 shutouts for Alta, which was led by the scoring of a trio of juniors — Phillips (22 goals), Madi Lyons (20), and Sydney Fitzpatrick (14).
"Alta is a fantastic team with great players every single year. Coach Lee Mitchell does a great, great job and his coaching staff does a great, great job of getting them ready to go every single year," Tate said. "They are one of the best programs in the state, if not the best program in the state, and to get a win against them is pretty sweet."