SANDY — Even though maybe it should’ve been, Logan Duran’s status for Friday’s 3A semifinal at Jordan High School was never in question.
There was no way Morgan’s leading scorer was going to let a dislocated shoulder suffered in practice early in the week keep her off the field with a championship appearance on the line.
“It’s a pretty big injury, but it wasn’t an option for her not to play,” said Morgan coach Bryan Searle.
Duran played a bit timid in the first half as expected, but she held nothing back in the second half as she notched the game’s only goal in the 53rd minute in leading Morgan to the 1-0 victory over Manti.
Duran used her speed to get around Manti’s defense at the right side of the box, and despite a tight angle to shoot from she uncorked a shot anyway and snuck it just to the left of the keeper and inside the far post.
Morgan advances to Saturday’s 3A championship at 1:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium, where it will meet region foe Judge, which was also a semifinal winner on Friday.
Judge dominated North Sanpete 6-1 to advance to the final and set up a third meeting with Morgan, which won both earlier meetings.
“First time we played them we caught them off guard and kind of blew them out, but the next time they came up was 4-3, very good game, very physical game,” said Searle.
Morgan has never won a soccer state championship, losing to Judge in the 2002 final and Juan Diego in the 2009 final. It marches into the title game on a 13-game winning streak.
If Morgan plays defense like it did Friday in recording its fourth straight shutout, it will be favored to lift that elusive trophy.
Morgan’s back line of Sydney McGreer, Karlie Kotter, Talli Gardner and Alexia Stanbridge dealt well with any attack Manti threw its way — even though defensive midfielder Heather Moore disrupted most of the opportunities before they got that far upfield.
“Our D has been improving throughout the year and that was probably one of our most complete games,” said Searle.
Judge will be seeking its first state championship since 2010 after dismantling North Sanpete in the semis.
North Sanpete gave itself a tiny lifeline in the 32nd minute as Sophie Duijn scored on a 50-yard free kick, but there was little to celebrate the rest of the way. Duijn’s free kick was definitely a highlight though.
Her shot was struck perfectly and forced Judge keeper Kate Bellew to try and punch it over the crossbar. She wasn’t quite tall enough though as she punched the ball into the bottom of the crossbar as it then bounced down into the goal.