All I can say is all these girls work so well together. Anna has been the rock of this team all year. So to see her drive in like that and get that goal, I couldn’t ask for anything more from her. —Millard head coach Dale Josse
SANDY — The Millard High School girls’ soccer team made history Saturday afternoon.
Millard came out and found the back of the net early in the first half before hanging on down the stretch to edge Maeser Prep 1-0 and pick up its first 2A state title in school history at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It feels awesome to be able to win state. It’s always great to make history — it’s so fun to be able to say that. I can’t even describe how I feel right now — this is amazing,” Millard star forward Anna Camp said.
The Eagles came out clicking on all cylinders and took it to the Lions from the first whistle to gain an early edge.
After slicing through the Lions' defense, Millard remained deep in their territory and looked to draw first blood in the first 10 minutes.
Then, in the 10th minute, Camp, who leads the team with 18 goals, got the ball right in front of the net and easily punched it in to take an early 1-0 lead and put Maeser Prep on its heels.
“All I can say is all these girls work so well together. Anna has been the rock of this team all year. So to see her drive in like that and get that goal, I couldn’t ask for anything more from her. She’s amazing,” Millard head coach Dale Josse said.
The home team came out and kept its foot on the gas in the second half as they looked to add to their narrow cushion.
The Lions regrouped at the half and came out with some urgency to establish a rhythm on offense.
However, the stout Millard defense, which has recorded 11 shutouts this season, was able to withstand the visitors' onslaught of shots and held strong to remain ahead and regain control on offense.
“I wasn’t expecting that and I don’t think the girls were expecting that much pressure. You’ve got to hand it to them — they stepped it up and kept the ball out of our end. Maeser Prep is a phenomenal team and I couldn’t more proud of my girls for holding off such a tough team,” Josse said.
The home team continued to cut through the visitors’ defense and was presented with a handful of great opportunities to extend their lead.
Millard wasn't quite able to connect, however, and clung to its one-goal lead as Maeser Prep desperately tried to respond with the equalizer in the final 20 minutes.
The Lions saw several chances at the game-tying goal, especially down the stretch in the final 10 minutes, and gave the Eagles everything it had.
However, goalkeeper McKenna Rowell refused to budge and came up with save after save until time eventually ran out and Millard sealed the shutout win and first-ever state championship.
“She’s a superstar. She has no fear. That girl will go after anything anywhere and that’s what makes her such a key part of our team. She has 11 shutouts and she’s just awesome,” Josse said of his star keeper.
Ryan Love is a full-time student and has been a part-time sportswriter for Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724