OGDEN — It didn't take Lehi very long to figure out how good Park City midfielder Kelly Isleib is when the two teams met Friday in the 3A semifinals. In Park City's 4-1 win over Lehi, the Deseret Morning News 3A MVP candidate saw limited action but still managed to terrorize the Pioneers with two goals.
After coming off the bench in the first half, Isleib scored the Miners' opening goal just minutes after her introduction. When Lehi scored midway through the second half to cut the deficit to 2-1, Isleib came off the bench and iced the game with another goal.
Park City advanced to the 3A state championship today at 2 p.m. on the campus of St. Joseph. The Miners will play Region 10 rival Judge.
"She's great," Lehi coach Brett Bergholm said about Isleib. "We talked all week about not letting her get a goal, and then she did. "
That opening goal came when a teammate in midfield found her racing down the right side. From 15-yards out, Isleib unleashed a shot toward the upper-left corner. Lehi's keeper managed to tip the shot, but it bounced off her hand and into the net.
Isleib finished with only 15-20 minutes of playing time. Park City coach Chip Cook said she was trying to conserve Isleib for today's clash against Judge.
After taking a 2-0 lead into halftime, Cook hoped to rest her star player throughout the second half. However, she sent Isleib back into the match when Aleisha Jex scored for Lehi and cut the deficit.
Isleib put the game out of reach just four minutes after her re-entry. Stevie Thurin's through-ball found Isleib with a one-on-one opportunity against Lehi's goalkeeper. Isleib calmly turned around the keeper and tapped her shot into the net.
"She's just an awesome player," Park City forward Elli Reed said. "You can always rely on her."
Excluding a pair of corner kicks, Park City's defense, which was led by Chelsea Shapard and Brittany Thomas, kept Lehi in check.
Lehi actually managed to control much of the tempo during the first 20 minutes. Lehi's Andrea Dahle sent an inviting corner kick into the box in the 12th minute that Park City barely managed to clear out of the area.
"After the first 15-20 minutes, we settled down and played well," Cook said. "Lehi was a tough team."
It appeared that Lehi was ready to go into halftime trailing 1-0 when a miscommunication cost the Pioneers dearly.
With only a few moments remaining before halftime, Reed sent a corner kick toward the near post. When a Lehi defender tried to clear the ball, she instead turned the ball into her own net.
"There wasn't a Park City player within 10 yards," Bergholm said. "That's what's frustrating."
JUDGE 2, JUAN DIEGO1: With a berth in the state championship match on the line Friday, Judge and Juan Diego battled to a 1-1 tied at the end of regulation. When 20 minutes of overtime didn't produce a golden goal for either side, a shootout was required.
"It feels so good to advance because we've worked so hard all year," Judge midfielder Jen Pentesco said. "It's almost like a dream come true."