BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
SANDY — Last year the Viewmont Vikings girls’ soccer team fell short of a 5A state title at the hands of Alta, which won 1-0 on a double overtime goal.
This year the script was flipped as Ella Johnson scored in the 95th minute of extra time to give the Lady Vikings their first state championship in the last three attempts.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Johnson. “I knew we could do it last year and we just came up short. As a senior, this was my last year, so I knew that we had to win this one for ourselves and our team.”
Johnson’s goal was set up by Abby Flandro, who worked the ball to the Alta side and was awarded with a corner kick after Alta deflected a pass out of bounds. Flandro took the corner kick, sent the ball flying to the box and right to Johnson, who headed in the game-winner for the Lady Vikings.
“The girls have worked so hard,” said Vikings coach Emalee Tate. “From day one the team has said they have wanted this and nothing else. They showed it every day in practice and at games, and their message to each other was to win this state title.”
After a very quiet first half saw both teams tied at 0-0, Alta came out as the aggressor in the second half by picking up a pair of shots against Viewmont goalkeeper Ashley Earnshaw. The senior was able to stop both shots and allowed the Vikings to make a charge in the next 10 minutes.
Viewmont wasn’t without its chances of getting the first goal in regulation, either. In the 49th minute, a shot from Courtney Wallis was picked up by Alta’s goalkeeper, who played a strong game at the net. Five minutes later the Vikings were again turned away by a wide shot from Abby Holbrook and had another shot saved in the 61st minute off the foot of Laura Essig.
The teams remained tied after Holbrook’s corner kick wasn’t converted to a goal in the closing minutes, forcing the first overtime.
“Those girls were not going to let us lose today,” said Tate. “Alta is a great team. They made a fantastic run and had a great season, and they’re a very aggressive team overall. But our team wanted it and they deserved it. Losing was not an option today.”
After a relatively quiet first overtime period, Alta had the first chance to end the game in the 93rd minute of the second overtime, but Sydney Fitzpatrick’s shot sailed high and wide of the net.
Viewmont made its push to Alta’s side of the field from there, eventually getting the corner kick that gave the Lady Vikings the state title.
“I had a feeling that we were going to do it this year,” said Johnson. “We’ve had a fantastic team with so much talent the last two years, but to get this one for our seniors is really special.”
Johnson finished her senior season with five goals scored as a defenseman.
The Vikings finished the season 19-1 overall and were undefeated in Region 2 for the second consecutive year.
Heidi Lorscheider ended the season with a team-high 18 goals and was one of five players to score at least 10 goals on the season. Essig and Karrie Pead each had 15 goals, Flandro finished with 12 and Wallis had 10 goals on the season for Viewmont.