Sandy • Summit Academy’s Chelsey Keefer rolled up her sleeves as she took the field for the second half Friday.
Practically, it was to relieve some of the heat radiating from the turf. Symbolically, it meant she was ready to get to work.
Millard and Summit Academy had played to a scoreless draw in the first half of their Class 2A girls’ soccer state semifinal thanks to dynamic management of the defensive end by both keepers — the Bears’ Kristyn Sites and Eagles’ Megan Taylor.
Keefer finally broke the deadlock.
Keefer uncorked a cross to the center of the goal, and teammate Courtney Shoell sprinted in and deflected the ball off her chest for the score.
“It was pretty rough,” Keefer said. “You definitely felt the pressure because nobody wants to play overtime.”
The tandem of Sites and fullback Morgan Fox stifled Millard’s aggressive play. Where Sites stopped 19 shots and blocked five, Fox deftly disrupted passes and set the ball in motion for the offense.
“It’s so nice to have somebody you trust back there to make stops,” Fox said. “We’ve beaten Waterford before, we can do it again.”
The Bears will face Waterford in Saturday’s state title game. Summit Academy coach Jess Griffin kept her starting 11 on the field for most of the game, choosing their experience over fresh legs.
“We have solid players in general,” Griffin said. “The players on the field are exceptionally talented, and I have a lot of faith in them.”
Sites credited Keefer for being the driving force during the team’s title-game run.
“She’s amazing, such a great player,” Sites said. “She’s been my mentor, and I am going to miss her when she is gone.”
Storylines Summit Academy 1, Millard 0
O Courtney Shoell scores the winning goal in the 78th minute with an assist from Chelsey Keefer.
• Kristyn Sites records the shutout by stopping 19 shots and blocking five.
• Millard’s goalkeeper, Megan Taylor stops 26 shots with six blocks in the losing effort.