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3A boys’ soccer: Juan Diego caps perfect season with state championship

First Published      Last Updated May 14 2016 09:52 pm


3A boys’ soccer » First-half goal and a last-minute save propel Soaring Eagle to their first state title.

Sandy • The "Un-de-feat-ed!" chant bellowed from the Juan Diego student section in the final minute of the game, then continued on the field after the trophy presentation.

The Soaring Eagle capped a perfect season Saturday with a thrilling 1-0 victory against Snow Canyon in the Class 3A boys' soccer state title game at Alta High School.

Juan Diego's defense made senior midfielder Brandon Sands' first-half goal stand as the game-winner, despite a frenzied final few minutes by the desperate Warriors.

Snow Canyon's final flurry was turned away by a leaping save by Juan Diego goalkeeper Martin Kelly on Parker Jenkins' header from point-blank range.




"I've never wanted anything more in my life than to keep that ball out of the net and win this game," Kelly said. "As a sophomore, I'm glad I can actually be a part of this."

"This" was Juan Diego's first state title in boys' soccer, and Saturday was the exclamation point on an unblemished 18-0 season.

Juan Diego coach Scott Platz looked as much in disbelief as he was elated, after a decade of frustration at the school.

There should have been little reason not to believe in Juan Diego's defense, which notched its 14th shutout of the season, and 13th with Kelly in goal.

"We knew our guys could get it done back there," Platz said. "Marty's been great all year. … He's got a great defense in front of him, but he makes the big save when he needs to make the big save, and that was the biggest save of his career."

The game's only goal came on a free kick in the 37th minute, and caught Snow Canyon napping. Goalkeeper Quinn Hargis was caught off-guard by Sands' quick kick, and the ball bounced under his diving effort.

It was a tactic Sands tried once earlier in the season against Logan, and one his coach encouraged him to employ if given the opportunity.

"I saw the goalie on the near post and I just took a chance," Sands said. "My coach always tells me, 'If it's open, do it.'

"It was awesome. It was absolutely amazing. Senior year, go out this way, do it for everybody, my brother [2014 graduate Tanner] and past players. It's amazing."

 

AT A GLANCE

3A championship: Juan Diego 1, Snow Canyon 0

Brandon Sands scores on a free kick in the 37th minute and the Soaring Eagle win their first state title.

» Juan Diego sophomore goalkeeper Martin Kelly makes a leaping save on a point-blank header in the final minute to preserve the victory.

» The Soaring Eagle finish the season 18-0 — the state’s lone unbeaten team this season.


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