2A girls' soccer: Waterford downs Delta for shot at title defense
Sandy • Waterford and Delta played an even match for 78 minutes, so overtime looked like a certainty in their Class 2A girls' soccer state semifinal Friday.
For every shot Waterford's KitKat Morrill fired at goal, Delta's Miranda Petersen drew aim at the other end.
It wasn't until an errant handball with two minutes remaining did Waterford's Jacqueline Pollard break through.
The corner-kick specialist lined up and fired away at frame from 32 yards out. The ball sailed over jumping Rabbit defenders and pierced through Maddie Deloach's hands.
Morrill's teammates engulfed after she led Waterford back to familiar territory playing for a third straight state championship.
"I died a thousand heart attacks," Waterford coach Tim Dolbin said. "Normally we don't take that gamble, but in a game like this where chances were few and far between, it was pretty darn evenly matched."
Where Delta's size and physicality allowed the Rabbits to control the ball for the first half, the Ravens' speed and ability to create passing lanes gave Waterford the advantage after the intermission. Morrill credited her teammates for looking for advantages and exploiting opportunities.
"They were definitely strong and able to pass the ball around, making for a great challenge," Morrill said. "It's the best feeling in the world to make it to the final round."
Ravens goalkeeper Lauren Groathouse was perfect between the posts, knocking down three shots and pulling in seven. Her punts restarted the action at the other end, and Morrill said that made a big difference.
"She saved us a couple of times back there," Morrill said. "That's a part of the game having a goalie that plays with the team."
Morrill was sidelined early in the game when a Delta defender collided with her knee. She was carried off the field but returned minutes later with a fiery energy that drove the Waterford offense.
"She's a good fast, physical player," Pollard said. "You can't keep her off the field."
Waterford 1, Delta 0
O The Ravens will play for their third consecutive state title.
• Lauren Groathouse earned the shutout in goal.
• Jacqueline Pollard scored off a free kick in the closing minutes for the game's lone goal.