Snow Canyon’s girls soccer team is sticking around southern Salt Lake County for one more match.
The Warriors advanced to Saturday’s 3A state championship, where they’ll face Park City after a wild 1-0 win against Wasatch on Friday.
“These girls deserve the chance,” coach Ken Kunde said after an exasperating, exhilarating 80 minutes.
Snow Canyon scored the game’s lone goal in the 55th minute. Meghan McKenna accepted a cross from Callie Stewart, who before this sun-soaked Friday afternoon at Jordan High had experienced all sorts of cloudiness when her team had reached close to this level.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Kunde said.
Two years ago, the team lost 1-0 to Timpanogos in the semifinals at nearby Juan Diego High.
It took an unbelievable strike from Marissa Nimmer, Timpaonogos’ top offensive threat, to knock the Warriors out of the 4A state semifinals. Nimmer is now a standout at highly ranked BYU.
Her shot back then came about four minutes before halftime and would have made some Real Salt Lake fans impressed.
Nimmer was about 25 yards from the goal when she unleashed a left-footed free kick.
Last year, the Warriors went to Ogden and lost in an epic shootout. The Tigers, playing at home, blocked three consecutive kicks.
Grace Walton was the goalie then for Snow Canyon and she’s the goalie now — and feeling all the better.
“It’s just awesome,” she said, beaming.
In the past, Kunde and Snow Canyon had to lament playing well but not getting opportunities — or taking advantage of them. There would be a handful of moments that the Warriors would have to stew about in the offseason.
Who knows? That chance still exists Saturday afternoon at Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium. It is another level advanced, and the stakes (and memories) get bigger each time.
But it’s a program that put itself in a fine position after coming oh-so-close. Snow Canyon just kept pushing.
It was playing in its first 4A semifinal two years ago, and hadn’t reached this level since the mid-1990s when the school was barely opened.
Now, there’s the chance to finish on top.
Park City defeated Ogden by the same score in the afternoon match. Jessica Dancy scored in the 16th minute among the pair of unbeatens. Defending state champion Ogden suffered its first loss in 34 games.
The two championship-competing teams did not have a common opponent this year.