Sandy • The players on the 2021 iteration of the Wasatch High School boys’ soccer team had dreamt since they were in grade school about winning a state championship. On Friday at Rio Tinto Stadium, that dream came true.
The Wasps won the 5A state championship with a 2-1 victory over the Skyline Eagles, marking the school’s first title since 2013 when it was in 3A.
“We’ve been wanting this since we were so young and it feels good to say that we’re state champions,” Wasatch senior Edgar Garcia said.
The game was tied 1-1 as the teams entered the second half. Wasatch knocked on the door of a second goal multiple times in the final 20 minutes until the pressure finally gave with 16 minutes remaining in the game.
Although, Wasatch’s game-winner came on an own goal from a Skyline player. But it made no difference to coach Jared Hendry.
“We were putting so much pressure that if he hadn’t have got it, we had a kid right behind him that was ready to get it,” Hendry said.
Senior Taylor Dummar’s goal about midway through the first half tied the score. The Eagles scratched 11 minutes into the first half off Seryu Kim’s goal.
Wasatch entered the state tournament as the No. 1-ranked team per the Utah High School Activities Association’s RPI system. But the Wasps still felt like no one believed in them.
“Even coming in at No. 1, everybody thought we were going to lose,” Garcia said. “That’s a chip on our shoulder. We’re just underdogs every year.”
The Wasps finished the season 18-2 and on a five-game winning streak. Hendry said he wants Wasatch to become a perennial contender for the state championship.
Wasatch lost to Olympus in the semifinal round of the 2019 state tournament. Without a chance to play for a state title in 2020, Hendry said several of his players were confident about winning the year after.
“All they said was, ‘Coach, it’s ours next year. We’re good enough to do it. We’re going to take it and it’s ours next year,’” Hendry said. “These boys were just ready to go.”
Weber 1 (4), Skyridge 1 (3)
The Warriors won their second consecutive 6A championship in dramatic fashion by holding on in a penalty shootout. The win also marked the last game for coach Jan Swift, who announced his retirement to his players on the bus ride to the stadium.
Junior goalkeeper Stockton Short saved Skyridge’s fourth penalty attempt and watched as the fifth one hit the crossbar. Weber converted four of its penalty kicks.
“All that hard work paid off,” Short said. “This team has been phenomenal all year. We deserved it more than anyone else did.”
The Warriors finished the season with a perfect 19-0 record and conceded only three goals all season, which is a state record.
Weber also won the title in 2019. There were no championship tournaments last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a Skyline goal to Cache Zacharopoulos. The goal was actually scored by Seryu Kim.