4A boys' soccer: Ludlow secures Bountiful's trip to state title game
Woods Cross • The sun began its slumber Tuesday, but the day only was beginning for Josh Ludlow.
The Bountiful senior goalkeeper sat on the line during a hectic 100 minutes where he saw his Braves and the Murray Spartans trade three goals apiece in a fast-paced Class 4A boys' soccer state semifinal at Woods Cross High School.
But penalties came, and with that, responsibility. Much like regulation and extra time, the Braves and Spartans were even in penalties after the first five shooters. Then they were knotted 4-4 through six shooters.
That's when Ludlow's moment arrived. He was shooting as the No. 7 penalty taker. He converted his then walked to the same line just crossed by his shot and made the reflex of his career.
Chaos ensued as the Bountiful Braves punched their ticket to the 4A title game with a 5-4 victory in penalties.
"Ice in his veins," Bountiful coach Lou Plank said.
Ludlow's 60-second span of excellence would be hard to top, but his laid-back and casual attitude was tested when the Brave student body swarmed him and gave him hugs and endless congratulations.
"This is a team effort, and the team put it together," he said. "I'm just there to stop shots. It's the team that's the star."
The Braves, who scored three goals in one half on a Spartan defense that surrendered just eight in its previous 18 matches, asserted themselves during regulation. Tristan Booth's 30-yard blast deflected in. Garrett Rydalch was in the right place at the right time and poked in an equalizer. Jake Haddock had a thunderous shot to the far post.
Bountiful was ready for the high-octane Spartans. Plank said he told his players going into the match to empty the gas tank to threaten offensively.
"It was that constant barrage of effort," Plank said.
And it was a matter of conditioning and keeping up with the Spartans for 100 minutes. The Braves did that, and when the sun finally tuckered out and the lights shined bright on Ludlow, it was the last line of defense who had the final say of the evening.
"He's really pretty quiet," midfielder Carson Tinker said, "but he shows up when he needs to."
4A title game
O Bountiful vs. Orem
At Rio Tinto Stadium
Thursday, 7 p.m.