Home School Trojans steamroll into soccer semifinals

Trojans steamroll into soccer semifinals

Morgan junior Rhylee Freeman (6) continues to play despite losing her left shoe. Talli Gardner (8) laughs in the background.

Twice in the history of Morgan High School girls’ soccer, the Trojans have reached the state championship game – once in 2002 and again in 2009. In both instances, the Trojans came up just short of a state title. The Trojans are hoping to change their stars this weekend.

After a 4-0 win over Juab in the quarterfinals last Saturday – their third straight shutout – the Trojans have advanced to today’s semifinal round against Manti, the top seed from Region 15.

Like Morgan, the Templars went undefeated in region play. They earned a spot in the semis by knocking off Grantsville, 2-1. Today’s game will be played at Jordan High School beginning at 3:45 p.m.

“This team has never gotten this far in the playoffs,” MHS coach Bryan Searle said. “We told the players that we did just enough to get another practice. The win today doesn’t give us anything yet, but it does give us another practice, and we’ll be ready for Friday.”

Against the Juab Wasps, the Trojans scored twice in the first half and recorded two more goals in the second half to earn the victory. Logan Duran, an absolute warrior on the field, scored both first half goals. After netting her second, Duran had to come out of the game, visibly exhausted.

“Logan is amazing,” junior forward Rhylee Freeman said. “She needs to play in college. In practice, when Logan runs fast, it makes all of us want to run fast. If she’s physical, it makes the rest of us want to be physical. It rubs off on all of us.”

Freeman scored off a beautiful assist from Addison Adams just three minutes into the second half to extend the lead to 3-0. Morgan Cragun finished the scoring after a shot by Duran ricocheted off the Juab goalie. Cragun was right there for the rebound and slipped the ball into the net. Morgan keeper Taylor Condie recorded the shutout.

“I thought Juab was more physical than us,” Searle said. “But outside of that I thought we outpassed them, outshot them. And I thought our back four played great. When they win the ball back there, when they head the ball out of there, it changes the game for us. I also thought we controlled the ball fairly well in the middle and I thought we played the balls well early, and that created a few goals for us. That’s something we’ve been working on, so I was good with that.”

To be truthful, it probably wasn’t MHS’s best game of the season. Several scoring chances went unanswered and the Trojans appeared to run out of gas well before the end of the game.

“I thought our conditioning was a little bit weak today,” Searle said. “That was probably the biggest thing that I was unhappy about. But that’s something we can work on and try to fix by next Friday.”

Freeman agreed with her coach.

“It definitely wasn’t our best game,” she said. “Juab played really well and they were physical, but we could have been way better than we were today.”

But no matter, the Trojans are well-positioned for a return to the 3A championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium, home of Real Salt Lake. And the way Judge Memorial is playing on the other side of the bracket, it could well turn into the third matchup between the Trojans and Bulldogs this year. Morgan won both games, although the second game was significantly more competitive. A Morgan-Judge matchup in the championship game would also be a rematch of the 2009 state championship game. Saturday’s state title game is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Before they get there, however, the Trojans must first make it past Manti, which will be no small task. But Freeman feels the team is ready for the challenge.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “I feel like we all came into this game (against Juab) really nervous, but I think we’re going to be set for the semifinals.”

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