SANDY – The Snow Canyon Warriors used a smothering defensive effort and needed only one goal to defeat Wasatch 1-0 in the first of the 3A semifinal matchups at Jordan High School.
Kaylee Brooks notched the lone goal in the 55th minute off a cross from Callie Stewart to propel the Warriors past the Wasps and into the state championship game.
Coaches and players were initially unable to identify who actually directed the ball into the goal after Stewart sent a pass into a large group of players in the box. Both Brooks and Meghan McKenna were involved in the play, but coach Ken Kunde said it appeared as though Brooks was the last to make contact.
“We couldn’t really tell,” Kunde said. “After the game, we talked to Kaylee and she said it was Meghan. [But] we have a picture that shows Kaylee putting a foot on the ball and actually putting it in. I think credit for that goal goes to Kaylee.”
The match started slowly, but quicky gained pace as the teams calmed down and turned it into a physical and defensive-minded match. Both goalkeepers turned away scoring opportunities in the first half and the teams remained deadlocked in a scoreless tie at the halftime break.
The Warriors continued to apply pressure in the second half and Brooks found the back of the net just 10 minutes into the half. Snow Canyon then settled in to protect the lead and held off a furious Wasatch attempt to equalize.
“The back four just had a tremendous game today,” Kunde said. “They communicated well and stayed with the forward runs that Wasatch was making. Grace (Walton) made a few good saves on some corners early in the game to keep us there. Those five kids in the back did a great job today.”
The Wasps were unable to break down the Warrior defense and eventually fell to Snow Canyon for the second consecutive year in the state playoffs.
The Warriors improve to a 16-2 record and will take on Park City in SC’s first state championship appearance in school history. The Miners are undefeated and have posted a 17-0-2 record en route to the title game.
The Warriors and Miners will battle for the 3A state championship tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium, the home of Real Salt Lake.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.