×
×
homepage logo

Lehi girls soccer falls to Skyline in 5A finals

By Jared Lloyd - | Oct 22, 2021
1 / 15
The Lehi girls soccer team sits with the runner-up trophy after the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
2 / 15
The Lehi girls soccer team poses for a photo with the runner-up trophy after the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
3 / 15
The Lehi girls soccer team celebrates with junior Kamara Simmons after she scored a goal during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
4 / 15
Lehi junior Olivia Smith (center) goes up for a header during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
5 / 15
Lehi senior midfielder Ally Dahl kicks the ball away during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
6 / 15
Lehi senior Adysen Miller traps the ball during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
7 / 15
Lehi senior Calista Wren (center) takes the ball up the field during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
8 / 15
Lehi sophomore Erin Dahl (10) battles for the ball during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
9 / 15
Lehi senior Calista Wren (left) goes up for a header during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
10 / 15
Lehi junior Sarah Ballard kicks the ball during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
11 / 15
The Lehi girls soccer team prepares to take the field before the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
12 / 15
Lehi freshman Kanani Haunga (left) chases after the ball during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
13 / 15
Lehi junior Olivia Smith (right) goes up for a header during the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
14 / 15
Lehi head coach Tim Graham (right) consoles senior Calista Wren after the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
15 / 15
Lehi players console each other after the 5A championship game against Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

When girls soccer players have a knack for placing high shots from distance, there is no knowing exactly which long ball will be the difference-maker.

It turned out that a pair of those shots — one for each side — were the decisive moments in Friday’s 5A state championship contest between Lehi and Skyline at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.

The Pioneers lofted up the first truly dangerous long shot when, with the score tied at 1-1 early in the second half, Lehi senior Ally Dahl sent the ball soaring toward the Eagle net from 30 yards out.

It dropped down and end up on-frame — literally. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced out, allowing Skyline to breath a sigh of relief.

When it was the Eagles turn, the Pioneers weren’t so fortunate.

Skyline senior midfielder Berlyn Dibble launched a shot from 35 or 40 yards out and drifted until it settled in the top-right corner of the net, giving the Eagles a lead they would never relinquish.

Lehi fought hard to answer but in the end it was Skyline who tallied a final minute score off a corner kick to secure the 3-1 win and the state title.

“I thought the girls played well,” Pioneer head coach Tim Graham said. “I think we had them on their heels on the first half. They weren’t expecting us to possess and they weren’t expecting the speed. The effort was phenomenal. I think we just ran out of gas but they played fantastic. They went out and in my book win or lose, they are champions.”

Graham shook his head and sighed when he thought about how close his team was to either taking the lead or tying the game.

“That was the difference in the game,” Graham said. “I think Ally (Dahl) had one and a set piece, then (senior midfielder Calista Wren) had a couple. If any of those go in, it’s a different game.”

Skyline got on the board first in the 26th when the Lehi defense wasn’t able to get a clean touch and Eagle sophomore forward Lily Hall slipped it through to senior Lily Boyden. The Skyline star did what she has all year and scored to make the score 1-0.

But the Pioneers answered just four minutes later when the ball got lofted into the box and Lehi junior Kamara Simmons chased it down.

She then had a couple of attempts blocked but she stayed with it and kept battling until she was able to get the ball through and across the line for the equalizer.

“I think my assistant Brad said it was the best blue-collar goal we’ve seen all year,” Graham said. “It was just true blue-collar. Kamara ran it down, didn’t quit and put it in the back of the net. It was a great goal.”

Those two goals set up the long-shot drama that gave the Eagles the lead and, when the Pioneers were pressing in the final minutes, allowed Boyden to get her second goal to close out the game.

Graham would’ve loved to see his team win the title but said even though it lost in the finals, he has nothing but great things to say about the 2021 Pioneer season.

“It was fantastic,” Graham said. “We learn far more from these girls than we ever teach them. What I’m going to remember is their heart and their love for each other. I have not coached a team that loves each other more in my life, especially here at the high school level. I also will remember how much they worked. They’ve never stopped working and never stopped doing what we asked.”

He was especially grateful for what the five Lehi seniors did for the team and the program overall.

“Three of the five were here as freshmen and the other two came in as sophomores,” Graham said. “That was my first year coaching and we were working on building a culture and a program. From Day 1, those seniors bought in. I still remember them as freshmen being wide-eyed and scared. They will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Lehi will have a lot of players returning, so Graham is hopeful that they will be able to continue the success of the this year’s run to the 5A finals.

“We’ve got a ton of juniors,” Graham said. “And we’ve got a lot of kids that came off the bench and got critical minutes coming back. I hope that this group and we as coaches can remember this and build on it and make another run.”

Newsletter

Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)