WOODS CROSS — She may not have set foot on the field. She didn't make one pass or one run. She didn't clear a ball or make any saves. But Judge Memorial senior Jenna Sliwinski still contributed to the Bulldogs' 2-1 upset of Wasatch in the 3A state semifinals Friday at Woods Cross High.
Sliwinski entered the 2007 season with big expectations. She was the team's second-leading scorer in 2006 and was looking to improve in that category. Then her season on the field ended in the first week with a broken collarbone. Since then, she has supported the Bulldogs in any other way possible.
"Jenna has been great for the team," said coach Jim Ngo. "She is the No. 1 cheerleader for every game, both varsity and JV, and she has been an inspiration to the team through her efforts. She has lent her heart to the team, and heart has been one of the biggest reasons why we are going to be playing for a state title tomorrow."
Judge showed plenty of that heart. Wearing armbands with Sliwinski's No. 10 on them, the Bulldogs fought and scrapped their way to the upset over the tournament favorites coming in from Wasatch. The Wasps took the lead in the 27th minute as their leading scorer, Tara Gehring, notched her 25th goal of the season with a left-foot blast on a follow-up from a Kimberly Parker shot. They took that lead to the half, but Judge never panicked.
"We have been a second-half team all season," said senior-captain Corinne Davies. "We knew Wasatch was good, but we still knew that we had it in us to come back and win the game."
It took only four minutes for the Bulldogs to pull even. Maddie Cartwright followed up a mad scramble in front of the net and poked the ball into the goal. In the 55th minute it was Davies who connected. After what Ngo called, "about the only 15 to 20 seconds of soccer where we played the way we wanted and strung together some passes," Davies got a pass on the right side and took one dribble before blasting a right-foot shot to the bottom-left corner of the net. She ran back to the middle pointing her finger to the stands.
"I was pointing to Jenna, my girl, to let her know that we were still fighting hard for her and thinking about her," Davies said.
Over the last 25 minutes, the Bulldogs dodged several bullets as they packed it in and held on for dear life. Freshman goalkeeper Natalie Warner made several key saves.
"I didn't think I did all that much," Warner said. "My defense in front of me was great and I just did what was needed."
For Judge to win the 3A title it will need to continue showing that same resolve when it faces its rival from Juan Diego in today's championship game at 2:30 p.m. at Woods Cross.