SANDY — Long-time soccer rivals Rowland Hall and Waterford have been on a virtual collision course in 2A soccer all season, and the inevitability became reality on Friday as both took care of business in their respective semifinals at Jordan High School.
Rowland Hall rolled past Millard 8-0 while Waterford eked out the 3-2 victory over a gritty Parowan squad to set up a showdown in Saturday’s championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium at 4 p.m.
“There’s nothing like it,” said Waterford coach Tim Dolbin.
It’s the third championship game meeting in the past four years between the region rivals, with Rowland Hall winning in 2014 and then Waterford winning last year.
This season the match-ups have been totally lopsided with Rowland Hall winning 7-1 and 6-1. Dolbin isn’t sure how his team can flip the switch on Saturday, but the Ravens are just excited for the opportunity.
It wasn’t easy for Waterford by any means. Parowan scored first on a great left-footed shot from Autumn Rogerson, and then late in the game it nearly found an equalizer with a few quality attacking waves.
“We’ve been hoping for close games all season. Since the 6A thing, it emptied out 2A and only left 12 teams, we’ve been looking for some good, close games all season so this was great for us. It gives us a lot to talk about before tomorrow’s game,” said Dolbin.
After Rogerson’s early strike in the fifth minute, Waterford’s Anna Wood answered back quickly as she buried a cross from Johanna Bruce in the seven minute. Wood scored again in the 17th minute for the 2-1 lead.
In the 21st minute Waterford stretched the lead to 3-1 as Angelina Peterson’s long-range shot glanced off the fingertips of Parowan’s keeper and into the back of the net.
“They came out perhaps with a little more energy than we did, they scored first. That woke us up,” said Dolbin.
Rogerson scored on a long-range shot of her own in the 65th minute to cut Waterford’s lead to 3-2 and give the Rams hope for a late equalizer.
In the first semifinal, Rowland Hall rolled to the 8-0 victory to remain perfect on the season.
Despite the easy win, and the two easy wins over Waterford earlier this year, Rowland Hall coach Bobby Kennedy said his team isn’t taking anything for granted on Saturday.
“It’s a pretty legitimate concern for us. I still view Waterford as the benchmark in 2A soccer in both genders, it’s been that way since I’ve been here, and that’s probably not going to change anytime soon,” said Kennedy. “We’ll have to be at our best.”