For two strong defensive teams vying for a state title, 100 minutes was not enough.
In an intense matchup for the 5A girls soccer state championship, Skyline and Bountiful showcased incredible defense when it mattered most as the two squads bought to a 0-0 tie after regulation and two extra time periods.
In the end, senior goalkeeper Grace Kinghorn came up with two spectacular saves in a shootout, and Skyline out-kicked the Redhawks in penalty kicks to secure hold of its second-consecutive state championship. The Eagles have won three 5A titles in the last four years.
“Oh my gosh, it feels so amazing,” Kinghorn said. “I’ve never been able to play in a state championship before, so it just feels awesome.”
In more ways than one, the Eagles had been here before, both in playing to defend their 2021 title and in playing for a shootout in an elimination game. The Eagles ended their championship run the same way it began after having to get past Maple Mountain in a 0-0 shootout in the first round of the playoffs. Skyline began its season with a shootout loss against Ridgeline.
“The girls are resilient,” Skyline coach Yamil Castillo said. “This is what happens. They never give up. I love them. I trust them.”
The two squads made their defensive effort apparent in the first half, fighting to a scoreless tie in the first half, though it was the Eagles who had more shots on goal.
Junior Chloe Limpert had as good an opportunity as the Eagles had gotten with less than five minutes remaining, but she shanked the attempt wide right to keep hopes alive for Bountiful as the game went into extra time.
Near the last minute of the first extra period, senior goalkeeper Emma Young came up with a dramatic save to keep the game going for another 10 minutes.
Kinghorn started the shootout off with a solid save on a ground shot from senior Chloe Pickett.
“There nothing really that a keeper can do, you just kind of guess and then go for it,” Kinghorn said. “I guessed right. It felt amazing…so much adrenaline. This is one of the things you practice so much but never do right in a game. PK’s are super-hard and they’re super-technical…I felt I was prepared, but it’s a 50-50 chance.”
The Eagles pulled ahead convincingly with leading scorer Lily Hall firing a laser into the right side of the net, followed by another goal from junior Jenna Nichols.
Bountiful scored their next two goals, courtesy of seniors Caroline Hellewell and Hayley Smith.
Undeterred, Skyline junior Ella Hall buried a third goal, then junior Clara Love scored the final goal for the Eagles to win the shootout.
“After having an undefeated season last year, then losing the early games, even in ourselves, we probably had second thoughts,” Skyline coach Yamil Castillo said. “But we kept our composure, and our hard work pays off. This is what happens in the end.”