Lone Peak notches first-ever 6A state title in 1-0 win over Layton

Lone Peak High celebrates after winning the Class 6A girls state championship Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, in Sandy. (Alex Vejar | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Lone Peak notches first-ever 6A state title in 1-0 win over Layton

Sandy • Ella Neumarker had two chances at it.

The junior midfielder on the Lone Peak High girls soccer team had a ball deflected in her direction midway through the first half of Friday’s 6A state championship game against the Layton Lancers.

Neumarker gave a strike toward the goal, but it was blocked and cleared away from danger. But she would soon get another opportunity.

That chance came with three-plus minutes left in the first half. At the time, the game was scoreless, and it appeared it would stay that way heading into halftime.

But a ball was deflected to Neumaker, almost in the same spot it had been before. But this time her strike sailed passed the Layton keeper for a goal. It was the only score of the game for either team and gave the Knights their first-ever 6A title in a 1-0 slugfest.

“I was so nervous. I had butterflies in my stomach,” Neumarker said of her emotions just before the final whistle. “But once (the whistle) finally blew, I was like, ‘Yes!’ I was so happy.”

The championship was several years in the making for Lone Peak. Head coach Shantel Jolley played for the school and appeared in three title games, but lost all of them. In more recent years, the Knights lost to Davis in the championship game.

“It’s nice to finally be a part of that prestige (and) state-title reputation that Lone Peak has,” Jolley said.

The game was a defensive clinic throughout much of the first half. Neither team gave an inch, and there weren’t many scoring opportunities until Neumarker’s goal.

“I’ve been waiting to take that shot all season, and it finally happened,” said Neumarker, who added that the goal might be her fourth of the season.

After the score, Lone Peak’s defense held on to secure the win. Layton put some shots on goal throughout the rest of the game, but the Knights’ keeper was there to snag all of them.

Senior forward Jocelyn Bybee said it was vital for Lone Peak to come out with a strong defensive performance, and called the team’s defense “amazing.”

“Our two center backs and our wing backs, they were on every single ball,” Bybee said. “That’s what kept us in the game.”

Layton beat Lone Peak in the quarterfinals last year. Jolley said Layton made things difficult for Lone Peak in the first half, and said she felt somewhat nervous about the level at which the Lancers played.

The Knights watched the Lancers play earlier in the week during the semifinal round to find out how they matched up, Bybee said, and saw where they could use their speed to their advantage.

“I think it was just awesome because we just wanted to get them back from losing in the quarterfinals last year,” Bybee said.

The magnitude of the moment was not lost on the players who will now be forever etched in Lone Peak’s history as the first team win a state title in girls soccer.

“We’ve all worked so hard for this whole season, and we all deserved it,” Bybee said. “Our hard work has paid off. It was a good moment for everyone.”