DRAPER The curse is over.
Alta broke the dreaded jinx of no 5A team being able to repeat as state champion by a convincing 3-0 win over Lone Peak on Saturday afternoon to win its second consecutive title.
"It feels so good," sweeper Julia Flores said. "It is an amazing accomplishment to win a state title, and to win two in a row is even better. This one may just be a little sweeter for me since I am a senior and know this was my last game."
All of the Hawks played as if it was their last game. Although the game remained scoreless for nearly the entire first half, there was never really any question which team would prevail.
The Alta midfield so thoroughly dominated the game that Lone Peak never had even a sniff at a quality chance for a score. The Knights couldn't string together enough passes to create any dangerous opportunities and did not have a single shot, yet alone one that could score, in the first half.
"We wanted to be aggressive and attack them as soon as they touched the ball," midfielder Corie Walch said. "If we didn't let them get out of their own end, we knew we would eventually wear them down."
While Lone Peak couldn't get off a shot, Alta for a time couldn't connect on any of its own. It had plenty of chances, but either Lone Peak keeper Raven King stepped up to make a big save or the shot simply was off target. It wasn't until the 38th minute that Ashley Jones found the back of the net as she one-touched a right-foot shot from a cross by Walch.
"I thought that goal was huge," super sophomore Kealia Ohai said. "We knew we were going to win coming in, but that goal really settled us down, got us to stop pressing so much. It was a big relief because we were getting a little bit frustrated with not capitalizing on all our chances before that."
While the defense continued its stellar play, Alta ended any hopes for Lone Peak of perhaps getting a single goal and getting to overtime in the 60th minute. Walch scored following a mad scramble in front of the net after a corner kick, and Ohai added a goal in the 77th minute for the final tally.
Jones and Ohai teamed up as a deadly forward combination all season they combined for 49 goals but in this game it was the midfield of Walch, Lauren Minnick, Natalie Cude, Summer Tillotson and substitutes Jackie Tillotson and Candace Chang that dominated play in the title match.
"All those guys in the middle did a terrific job for us today," coach Lee Mitchell said.
With the pressure of back-to-back titles out of the way, and the Hawks having won three of the last four championships, how dominant can Alta become?"Every year is different," added Mitchell. "It takes a special group of players to step up and win it all, but I am so happy for this group. They worked so hard all year for it, and it has been a great season.
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