SANDY — Losers to Judge Memorial twice during the regular season, the Morgan girls soccer team made certain the third try was the charm during Saturday's 3A state championship match at Rio Tinto Stadium. The result was a 1-0 win for a second-straight state title for a young team that could have some very good years ahead.
Case in point would be the one goal scored on the afternoon. Among the several options to attempt a penalty kick with 13:10 left in the first half, coaches opted to give freshman Sadie McGreer the opportunity on the biggest stage available.
"One coach called one player, another called another, and (McGreer) just went up," said Morgan coach Bryan Searle. "Any time we've had a PK, we've had two or three players step up, and she's one of them. She's not afraid of the moment, and obviously she delivered."
Indeed, McGreer stepped to the ball confidently before sending in a hard shot that proved a no-doubter, hitting the back of the top-right corner net with force. The freshman jumped in jubilation as her teammates joined her celebration enthusiastically.
"I was nervous, but I knew that I could do it," McGreer said. "I knew that with my team behind me, supporting me, that I knew that I could make it."
McGreer quickly credited the rest of her team when asked further of her championship-winning kick, specifically a defense that held the Bulldogs scoreless.
"It was crazy how many saves we had," McGreer said. "We defended that second half, and we were just so good as a team."
Two standout plays on the defensive end were made by goalie Taylor Condie. The junior made two diving saves on the afternoon, with the first one coming as the first half wound down and the second when Judge was putting a lot of pressure during the final few minutes of regulation.
"It's been a little bit of shaky season. She's been in and out, but the last three games, she's been incredible," Searle said of Condie. "So hat's off to her for good hands and some great saves."
As mentioned, Morgan made do with a team that contrasted significantly from last year's senior-laden championship squad. According to Searle, he played five freshmen throughout Saturday's match from a roster consisting primarily of sophomores and freshmen.
"We're happy with our program," Searle said. "It's a young program, and we look forward to the future."
While everyone involved with the championship has eyes toward the potential of even more championships, all are grateful for the foundation set last season.
"They set the tone for the juniors and the sophomores, so that we came in they were all ready," McGreer, whose sister was a senior on last year's championship team. "So we just hold each other up, and it's crazy."Comment on this story
Supporting Morgan every step of the way was a sizeable crowd that made their voices heard throughout Saturday's match and throughout the season.
"We have the best fans ever," McGreer said. "They come to every game, and they're so loud, and so supportive."
Overall, Searle couldn't have ended the season on a better note, with his team saving its best performance for when it mattered most.
"I think our girls played with a lot of heart and effort," Searle said. "They wanted it. Not that the other team didn't, but (we) wanted a repeat, and we left it all out on the field."