SANDY — In the halftime locker room at Rio Tinto Stadium, Timpanogos girls soccer coach Natalyn Lewis looked at her midfielders and told them they needed to be more aggressive when they attacked the goal.
Just 19 seconds into the second half of the Timberwolves' 4A championship match against Region 7 foe Skyline on Friday evening, Timpanogos' Katie Henderson listened to her coach’s instruction.
A senior captain, and Lewis’ niece, Henderson drove home the only goal of the game, giving the Timberwolves the 1-0 title victory — their second in three years.
“She got that open shot, she took it, and the rest is now history,” Lewis said. “To have it be one of our seniors, to have it be my niece, was a big deal for me.”
Henderson, one of Lewis’ two nieces on the team along with freshman McKenna Kondel, corralled the ball after it was moved up the sideline and then crossed to the middle of the field.
“It was like, ‘Merry Christmas to me,’” she said. “I just knew that I needed to get good contact on the ball, low and in the corner. That’s what I did and put it away.”
The midfielder added that she knew her shot was good, but was still in a state of disbelief.
“I even turned around before it went in,” she said. “I saw the ball go under the goalie as she dove. It was so surreal and I was just going crazy.”
The Timberwolves split two region matches with Skyline, the top seed out of Region 7 and co-champions along with Timpanogos. Until Friday, neither squad lost another game the entire season.
“I just told the girls, ‘You’ve got to start when the whistle blows,’” Lewis said. “’It’s only going to take one goal to win this because it’s just too hard fought of a game.’”
The Eagles controlled the tempo throughout much of the first half. Anchored all year by the play of goalkeeper Hillary Weixler, who totaled a 4A-best 11 shutouts, the Eagles held the majority of the possession until the final minutes of the opening half.
“We came out in the first half and we shuttled a little bit. Skyline was coming down our throat a lot and we were just panicking,” Henderson said. “(The) last seven minutes, we started playing the way we know how to play. In the locker room, we set ourselves straight and we came out here and just played really hard.”
Lewis added there was a slight change in strategy at the midpoint, emphasizing the need to spread out the Skyline defense.
“They are a very tough defensive team in the air,” she said, “and we needed to spread it out and get it on the ground.”
The Eagles were led all year by Holly Daugirda, Emma Heyn and Jaslyn Massina, who scored a 4A-best 24, 14, and 10 goals, respectively.
Timpanogos senior Sydney Oldroyd totaled 7 1/2 shutouts on the season while Henderson finished with four goals. The Timberwolves were led throughout the season by the offense of high-scorer Devri Hartle, who had 11 goals.
“For it to be (Henderson) tonight my entire family came down from Idaho, they’ve got T-shirts spelling out their names. It’s just a big deal for our family tonight,” Lewis said. “I promised to coach this team as long as she was playing and for it to end like that, with a goal from her, 19 seconds into take the state championship, I could not be more happy about it. It’s the best ending in the world.”
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company