SANDY — The defending champs are ready to bring back their crown to Cedar City.
Thanks to a first half goal from Nicole Jenkins — her 25th goal of the season — the Lady Reds are back in the 3A championship game after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Snow Canyon at Jordan High School Friday night.
The Lady Reds will take on Logan, at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday (4:30 p.m), after the Grizzlies upset Desert Hills, 4-1, earlier in the day.
“Logan is a really great team and we have our work cut out for us,” Cedar coach Scott Kamachi said. “To be able to play in the 3A championship game two years in a row now is an incredible accomplishment for our program.”
Through the first three rounds of the playoffs, the Lady Reds have yet to give up a goal, and have combined to outscore its opponents 9-0.
“Everyone is playing well and our back line continues to play at a high level. It’s hard to lose games when you don’t give up any goals,” Kamchi said smiling.
After a collision early in the first half sent players off from both sides, Jenkins was moved to attacking midfielder from her normal striker position.
“As a striker she almost always has a double team on her,” Kamachi said. “Playing as an attacking midfielder gave her a lot of room to work with and she made the most of her opportunity.”
It didn’t take long for Jenkins — Cedar’s leading scorer — to show off her speed as she broke through the Warrior defense and blasted the ball into the back of the net in the 20th minute.
“”It took a minute to fall into the swing of it,” Jenkins said about playing in the midfield. “But then I found it and our team connected to get the goal.”
After winning the program’s first 3A soccer title last year, the Lady Reds are just one game away from adding another storybook ending to its season.
“Last year was a lot of fun making history, but we want to make even more history,” Kamachi said.
When asked what it’s like playing on the big stage at Rio Tinto Stadium, Jenkins smiled and said,” it’s perfect. The atmosphere is second to none and the grass is always perfect. There isn’t anything like it.”
While Cedar is playing for the 3A title, Snow Canyon will take the long trip back home, but will do so with there heads held high.
“Despite the loss, we had a really good season and it was fun to be apart of it,” Snow Canyon coach Kenny Kunde said. “Cedar came out more aggressive and really attacked us and that took our possession away. But the kids fought hard and had some great chances that just didn’t work out.”
Snow Canyon’s best opportunity came in the 61st minute when Jenny Stewart’s shot bounced off Megan Giddings’ hands with the ball starting to roll towards the net. But Cedar’s keeper made a diving stop as the ball bounced off the post before recovering and scooping the ball up to preserve the shutout.
“Play of the game right there,” Kunde added. “It would have been nice to have goal line technology in that situation, but the line judge was right there and we just have to trust that he made the right call.” But credit Cedar for playing a great game and we wish them well tomorrow.”
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.