Sandy • True to its season, Olympus didn’t make it easy on itself.
First, the Titans failed to secure the region title on the last day of the regular season, giving themselves a tougher road through the Class 4A tournament. Then, they watched a 2-0 second-half lead Thursday become 3-2 in a matter of minutes with shots still falling on their flop-haired goalkeeper until the last second.
Well, few will forget the manner in which the Olympus Titans won their first state soccer championship.
The Titans held on for the 3-2 victory in the biggest game in program history, defeating Region 7 rival — and No. 1 seed — Murray, which claimed the region title after it beat Hillcrest on the same day Olympus settled for a draw with Skyline.
“It’s so much better,” senior Blaze Nelson said. “They got region but we got state.”
The sentiment was echoed by junior midfielder Amer Sasivarevic, who scored the Titans’ first two goals, the first of which came with nine second remaining in the first half. He kept repeating: “I like this better.”
Sasivarevic, who was born a Bosnian refugee in Germany before moving to Utah in 1999, said, “ I’m so happy.”
And who in green and white wasn’t? Ethan Cash, the save-a-minute goalkeeper was toothy as they come, his teammates chanting his name.
“We came in feeling as underdogs but I love that underdog role,” Cash said. “Playoffs, we just knew we had to step it up and that’s what we did.”
Chris Sonntag, in his ninth year and coaching in his first title game, credited members of his team like he was reading through his roster. Sasivarevic scored the team’s first two goals and “he is that talented;” Cash came up with so many big saves as Murray began to press offensively, “it felt like six or seven really good saves.”
“What it boils down to is these guys just didn’t give up,” Sonntag said.
Neither, however, did Murray.
After Sasivarevic’s second goal, in the 47th minute, Murray finally broke through in the 67th minute on a scrambling goal by Thomas Rodriguez. Five minutes later, James Webb answered for Olympus, giving the Titans what seemed a safe 3-1 advantage with just eight minutes remaining.
“You can never think like that,” Sasivarevic said. “We knew Murray’s a great team and any team can come back from that.”
The Spartans tried, getting another goal in the 74th minute from Andrew Clayton. But Olympus played an expert game of keepaway, preventing Murray from getting another shot and, more importantly, the tying goal.