SANDY — For 78 minutes on Friday, tremendous goalkeeping by Millard’s Megan Taylor and Summit Academy’s Kristyn Sites had virtually everyone thinking a shootout was inevitable in the 2A semifinal match.
One whipped in ball from Chelsey Keefer in the dying minutes of the match changed all that.
Her 78th-minute cross found teammate Courtney Shoell just a few yards from goal, and Shoell calmly redirected it across the goalmouth and into the net to cap Summit Academy’s 1-0 victory over Millard in a back-and-forth match at Jordan High School.
“It was a beautiful cross from Chelsey Keefer and I just hit it in with my chest,” said an elated Shoell.
With the victory, Summit Academy advances to Saturday’s 1A championship at Rio Tinto Stadium, where it will face two-time champ Waterford at 1:30 p.m.
“It was a great game. We played so well,” said Sites. “We’re kind of a new team so to be this far is amazing.”
Both teams had chances to score much earlier, but Taylor and Sites owned their boxes and made numerous diving saves to keep the match scoreless. Millard’s Taylor wasn’t afraid to come out of the box to clear the ball, either, as the Eagles played a very high line defensively.
“Millard’s 'keeper is incredible. She came out and was all over the place,” said Summit coach Krystin Wingert.
Keefer came close to beating Millard’s charging 'keeper to several of those through balls in the second half, but the constant pressure eventually paid off late as she got in behind Millard’s defense to set up Shoell’s winner.
Earlier in the day Waterford advanced to the 2A championship by scoring in the final two minutes as well, and Summit Academy players acknowledged that was in the back of their minds as the match wore on.
“Playing soccer for all my life you know anything can happen, and the game’s not over 'til the final whistle blows,” said Summit defender Morgan Fox.
Waterford beat Summit Academy during the regular season 1-0 and then again in the region tournament 3-1, but the Bears are confident that the third time will be the charm.
“We’ve beat Waterford before so there’s nothing stopping us from doing it again,” said Fox.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company