Judge Memorial edges Morgan 1-0 to win third straight boys’ 3A soccer championship

Early second-half goal by Nahuel Batalla is all Bulldogs need to win sixth state soccer title overall

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Morgan's Cameron Burt and Judge Memorial's Anthony Galindo leap for the ball in the 3A boys soccer championship, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

Judge Memorial High School freshman forward Nahuel Batalla hadn’t scored a goal for the entire 3A state boys’ soccer tournament. That is, until he found the back of the net in Wednesday’s championship game.

Batalla’s goal less than 30 seconds into the second half was the difference in the 1-0 win over the Morgan Trojans. The freshman joined the Judge Memorial team just before the playoffs because he had obligations with club soccer teams.

But Batalla picked the perfect time to open his Bulldogs account.

“I saw the ball go in [and] I was so happy,” Batalla said. “I ran to the corner to celebrate. It feels fantastic.”

Wednesday’s win marked Judge Memorial’s third consecutive 3A state title in boys’ soccer. It won in 2018 and 2019. No spring sport in Utah competed for a championship last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the win felt like a three-peat all the same. The crowd chanted “three-peat, three-peat” after the game. In the traditional postgame championship photo, many players and coaches held up the number three with their fingers.

This is the first time in school history the Bulldogs have won a three-peat. Wednesday’s win secured the school’s six title overall in boys’ soccer.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Judge Memorial's John Chadwick reacts to a narrow miss on goal while facing Morgan High School in the 3A boys soccer championship, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

“I’m just proud of them,” Bulldogs coach Kelly Terrill said with tears in his eyes. “Unbelievable team.”

Judge Memorial secured the game-winning goal when freshman John Chadwick whipped a cross into the box from the left side of the field and found the outstretched leg of Batalla, who tapped it in.

Morgan nearly equalized a few minutes later when sophomore Ty Warner found the back of the net off a rebound of senior Jacob Tolman’s shot, which was initially saved by Bulldogs keeper Kolby Sessions. But the goal was waved off after an offside call.

Morgan came into Wednesday with an 11-game winning streak that bridged the regular season and state tournament. The Trojans had never been shut out until the 3A title game.

Chadwick said the first 10 minutes of the game were “a little shaky” defensively, but the Bulldogs figured it out.

“Everybody was on lockdown and nobody got past,” Chadwick said of the team’s back line. “I was surprised to see Morgan not get a goal.”

Terrill said only 30 players tried out for Judge Memorial’s soccer team, and all 30 made the team. He hopes the team’s recent success will encourage more boys to try soccer at the school.

Eight Judge Memorial players are seniors and will graduate this year. But that means most of the team will be back to try for more success, including Batalla and Chadwick.

“It’s just going to get better next season,” Chadwick said.

RSL Academy 6, Waterford 1

In a blowout game, RSL Academy won the 2A boys’ soccer state championship. It’s the school’s first-ever title.

RSL Academy had a 2-0 lead at halftime and put away four extra goals in the second half.

RSL Academy was ranked No. 2 in the classification going into the tournament. Waterford was ranked No. 5, but beat No. 1. St. Joseph in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.

Ridgeline 2, Stansbury 1

The Riverhawks beat the Stallions 2-1 in the 4A state championship game. It’s the first state title for Ridgeline since 2017, when the team was in 3A.

Ridgeline’s Gabe Watson broke a 1-1 tie in the 70th minute in a sequence where he found the ball deep in the box after a free kick.

Ridgeline was the No. 11 seed in the 4A tournament.

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