Blocking two penalty kicks in a shootout to steal a 2-1 win over Park City for the 3A state championship just wasn't thrilling enough for Cedar City goalkeeper Matt Hamlin. So to make it all worth while, the junior Redman made his emotions appropriate for the celebration.
Just ask the Park City fans.Hamlin frantically romped his way around the Miners' bench and before the opposing crowd with arms in the air and a dozen teammates chasing after him. The jubilation came in the wake of Park City's heartbreak, failing to win its third straight 3A crown. Cedar claimed its first state soccer title with the win.
"I had to strut by their fans." Hamlin said after blocking the Miners' first and fifth kick. "I might as well. They want to be jerks, we'll be jerks back to them."
"He's just a real quick kid," Cedar coach Scott Kamachi said. "I don't know if he's got any extra special abilities. He's just cocky."
Despite the Miners' claims that Hamlin moved illegally before two penalties were kicked, there was little to blemish the Redmen's second-half heroics that earned the win. Park City controlled much of the first half and had Tom Gross' direct kick goal outside the 18-yard line to post a 1-0 halftime lead.
Cedar's gradual buildup on the offense didn't pay off until four minutes remained on the second-half clock. Then, at precisely the same spot of Gross' goal, Cedar midfielder Kevin Staudt boomed a shot over Park City's wall and into the left net.
"It was just straight in," Staudt said. "I saw a little hole in the top corner. I can't believe I made it."
Two more open-shot opportunities by Staudt were blanketed by Park City keeper Sean Tolpinrud. But Staudt's goal had enough damaging fate for the Miners in their title defense.
"We basically gave it away when they scored that goal on the 18," Coach Julian Martinez said. "They earned it. We didn't put it in."
Ryan Angell, Jon Carver and Jake McKittrick each scored shootout kicks to build the 3-2 lead. Kyle Bryson of Park City scored one of the Miners' two kicks, and finished it off with a laughing taunt on Hamlin.
"So what," said the exhilirated Hamlin, who's never lost a shootout in three years. "He made it. But look who won."