Lone Peak’s killer instinct in front of goal was obvious from the opening whistle of Friday’s 6A state championship.
It was notable, because in the semifinals earlier this week against Layton, it was missing until an 80th minute winner narrowly sent the Knights to the final. In the final, three days later, Lone Peak found the back of the net early and often.
Brooke Hendricks scored just two minutes into the match, and then Lone Peak tacked on four more goals until the final whistle as it rolled to a dominant 5-0 win over rival American Fork at American First Field in Sandy.
The win was the 20th of the season for a juggernaut Lone Peak squad that captured its first state championship since 2018.
“I feel like it’s been too long since our last one for sure, but it takes a special group and these girls are obviously one,” said Lone Peak coach Shantel Jolley.
Her team’s only loss of the season was a 1-0 setback at Coronado, Nevada, back in mid-August in a shorted 60-minute game as part of a tournament. Ranked 27th nationally according to MaxPreps heading into the state tournament, Lone Peak will wait to see if Friday’s dominant performance pushes it into the top 25.
Samantha Sellers finished with a hat trick to lead the way for the Knights, with fellow junior Bella Devey adding a goal and two assists.
Keeper Eliza Collings recorded her 16th shutout of the season, being called on late for a few tough saves. As a team, Lone Peak only allowed one goal over its final 11 matches, and none in the playoffs.
In the semifinals, Lone Peak looked vulnerable to a potential upset until sophomore Ivy Harding tapped in the winning goal in the 80th minute to ease growing tension about another earlier-than-expected playoff exit.
In the final, though, Hendricks only needed 100 seconds to erase that doubt.
“We wanted to come out as strong as we could and make sure we go after them right away.” — Lone Peak’s Bella Devey
She got in behind American Fork’s defense after a flicked-on header from Devey, and then took one touch to her right to create a shooting angle and bury it into the back of the next for the 1-0 lead.
“We wanted to come out as strong as we could and make sure we go after them right away,” said Devey, who has verbally committed to the University of North Carolina.
In the 21st minute, Sellers doubled the lead as she created a shot for herself and buried it despite two nearby defenders in the box.
The dagger came four minutes later, though, as Collings picked up the rare keeper assist. Her booming drop kick bounced once near midfield, with Devey chesting it down before the second bounce and then racing between two defenders for a 1v1 chance on the keeper. She calmly slotted it home for the 3-0 cushion, which Lone Peak maintained until halftime.
Any hope American Fork had of an inspiring halftime pep talk fueling a comeback was squashed quickly as Sellers scored with an easy finish in front of goal in the 42nd minute on a quality driven pass from Hendricks.
Seller secured her hat trick on an assist from Devey in the 57th minute.
“Such a good feeling, especially in the final, such a good way to just end the season off,” said Sellers, who finished with 10 goals in Lone Peak’s final six games.
The last goal by Sellers epitomized the type of quality soccer Lone Peak is capable of playing.
It started with a diving save by Collings that helped preserve the shutout, and immediately Lone Peak transitioned the other way with a quick pass out of the back from a defender. Several passes later and with some American Fork players still tracking back, Sellers tapped in Devey’s simple pass across the 6-yard box for the 5-0 lead.
“Easily any of them could have just gone and tried to take it on their own, but again, the fact that they look for that kind of final pass to set up their teammates and a better shot than they get just defines who this team is,” said Jolley.
The five-goal triumph in the final is believed to the be the biggest blowout in state championship history in the state’s largest classification. The previous largest is believed to be Brighton’s 6-2 win over East in the 1989 state championship game.