Sandy • Elizabeth Durrant wasn’t even sure she was going to play in Saturday’s Class 3A state girls’ soccer championship game.
Those games — those stages — are reserved typically for experienced players. Seniors, not freshmen.
Storylines Dixie 1, Juan Diego 0Dixie freshman Elizabeth Durrant scores the winning goal in the 54th minute.
» Juan Diego fails to finish several chances in the final 10 minutes, including two shots that hit the crossbar.
» Dixie wins its fourth state title after previous championships in 1994, 1995 and 2006.
But when Durrant’s name was called, she answered loudly. The Dixie freshman forward scored the only goal in the Flyers’ 1-0 championship victory against Juan Diego at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"It was really awesome, but I didn’t think I was going to be the one to do it," Durrant said. "I’ve played in all of our qualifying rounds [of the playoffs], but I didn’t know if I was going to play today. [Coach Burt] Myers put me in, and I’m ready when Myers puts me in. I’m always ready."
Durrant took a pass on the left wing from Alexa Estridge and sent a left-footed arch into the upper right corner of the net in the 54th minute. The goal came less than 10 minutes after Durrant hit the right post and teammate Cassidy Gray’s header on the rebound sailed too high.
Dixie senior goalkeeper Liz Empey, who had to be talked into playing this season by Myers, made the lone goal stand up against a Juan Diego barrage in the final 10 minutes.
Empey’s biggest save came as she charged to cut down the angle on Kristen Shimkus in the 75th minute and blocked the hard shot. Empey also got some help from the crossbar as shots by Anna Ewoniuk and AnnaMaria DiGeronimo were just a bit too high.
"We had a goalie move away and another got sick," Myers said. "I called [Empey] and said, ‘Please Liz, I think we got a state championship team.’ She came out and has done a great job."
Dixie (18-2-2) won its fourth state title and first since 2006. The Flyers began the season 0-2 and didn’t lose over their final 20 games.
Juan Diego (12-5-3) was shut out for the fourth time this season.
Durrant, who also scored in the Flyers’ quarterfinal victory against Uintah, said the championship was reward for the hard work she and her teammates put in the entire season.
"It’s so amazing, so awesome," Durrant said. "We’ve woken up at 5 o’clock every morning and we’ve worked our butts off at practice, and this is what we’ve worked for all year."
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