Sandy • Some girls dream of becoming princesses when they get older. Courtney Shoell and her Summit Academy teammates wanted to be state champions.
They earned their version of royalty Saturday.
The Bears, in just their second year of fielding a team, stunned five-time state champion Waterford 2-1 to claim the Class 2A girls’ soccer state championship at Rio Tinto Stadium. Juliana Stratford’s goal in the 55th minute broke a 1-1 tie.
“Like the quote said, we dreamt about this when we were little girls,” Shoell said. “You train all those years when you’re little. I’ve been playing 14 years, and this is what I’ve been training for. It’s not even sunk in yet.”
Waterford became the third No. 1 seed to lose to Summit this postseason, a phenomenal feat for a program still in its infancy. The Bears defeated top-seeded Manti and Millard before topping Waterford, which had won state five of the last seven seasons. Summit had lost twice to the Ravens earlier this season.
“These girls work so hard,” Summit coach Kyrstin Wingert said. “There is not a more deserving team than this. The girls were so psyched being able to play here today. We’re going to keep building and hopefully keep doing this.”
Waterford scored first in the 28th minute when Caroline Coats showcased some fancy footwork and scored. Alli Gorringe tied the game for Summit just six minutes later by turning with the ball and finding the upper net.
The game remained tight from there as both sides had opportunities. However, Summit kept the pressure up, attempting shot after shot on goal. It eventually paid off when Stratford followed up a deflected shot by Shoell and was in the perfect place to put the ball in the back of the net.
“Both of them [Gorringe and Stratford] are new additions this year,” Wingert said. “I don’t even have words to describe how awesome they were.”
With only eight returning players from last year, Summit rebuilt its roster in hopes of at least contending in region. The Bears reached the quarterfinals in their first full season but started 2-4 this year.
“We had a rough start,” Wingert said. “But we were a better passing team, and that’s how you win games. Winning a state championship builds the program and hopefully brings more girls out next year.”
Meanwhile, Waterford continued to have its chances. Jacqueline Pollard attempted several well-executed free kicks and corners. However, Summit defended well and pushed forward quickly. The Bears attempted 17 shots in the game.
“It took a lot of heart, passion and focus,” Summit’s Chelsey Keefer said. “We all work well together. We went into the semis and had the feeling we could do it. We had so much drive. Just to be here is incredible.”
Teamwork and friendship were the heart and soul of the team.
“I look on the field and have 10 of my best friends beside me,” Shoell said. “To beat Waterford is bittersweet because they’re our rivals. We’re the first ones to take state at our school. We set the bar and hopefully we’ll live up to this.”
Storylines Summit Academy 2, Waterford 1
R The Bears win their first state title in only the program’s second year.
• Summit Academy defeated three No. 1 seeds in the postseason to win the title. It entered the postseason as a No. 3 seed.