The 2A boys soccer state semifinals were played at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Wednesday, where No. 1 St. Joseph and No. 2 seed Maeser Prep advanced, beating No. 5 American Heritage and No. 11 Waterford, respectively.

American Heritage 0, St. Joseph 5

St. Joseph gets a chance to redeem last year’s 2A championship loss after defeating American Heritage 5-0 Wednesday.

The Jayhawks have been dominant in this year’s postseason run, outscoring opponents a combined 32-2.

Despite the hot streak, the first half was a tight fight, and American Heritage made St. Joseph work for everything.

The Jayhawks had a few chances to take a lead, but nerves were getting the best of them, and the score remained tied 0-0 at the end of the first half.

“Same as last year, there’s a lot of nerves and I told them at the beginning of the week ‘What’s done is done, now it’s all psychological,’” said St. Joseph head coach Paulo Franco.

“We respect American Heritage, but we know our potential. I told them to calm down, settle, go play and have fun.”

St. Joseph seemed to play calmer, and early in the second half Carlos Garcia broke the tie. The goal opened the floodgates, and within a minute, Daniel Filho scored to give the Jayhawks a 2-0 lead.

Filho scored two more goals in the next 15 minutes for a hat trick and 4-0 Jayhawk lead.

“It’s normal for a semifinal game to start slow and everyone is kind of passive,” said Filho. “In the second half we found the first goal and it was our way to go. We played as a team, and it helped us a lot.

“We are always feeling good and we’re even better than last year. We’re keeping good thoughts about the final, but we just have to focus and play our game.”

Franco says he couldn’t be happier to have Filho on his roster.

“I’m a friend of his dad’s and we’re both Brazilian,” said Franco. “We brought him here two years ago to study here in the U.S. I knew he would be a superstar guy and last year he had a huge season.

“He’s more prepared than ever. He’s a nice, fantastic, smart, humble kid and a good student, too. We are happy for this year and happy to have him.”

Said Franco of the final: “This is our second year in a row going to the final. We’re very happy to be back and we’re feeling confident. We have a good team, a huge, nice family, and I’m so proud of our group. I feel that this is our year.”

Maeser Prep 8, Waterford 1

Maeser Prep ended the Cinderella run from Waterford in a dominant 8-1 2A semifinal victory.

The Lions earned an early lead which they only grew as the game progressed.

The opening goal was scored by Aidan Simmons, who scored two more early to record a hat trick before the end of the first half.

“It’s actually unbelievable,” said Simmons. “My first one went in, and I went ‘Whatever.’ I didn’t think much of it.

“The second one came, and I was proud of the header. Historically I’m not great in the air to see that one go in in the semis was awesome. On my third one the ball came in and I can’t tell you how many times this season I’ve shanked that exact same shot, but this time it came off perfectly off my foot and it was the highlight of this season so far.”

Maeser Prep head coach and Aidan’s dad, Dustin Simmons, was happy to see his son succeed.

“It’s hard to talk about him because he’s my son,” said Simmons. “He’s our leading scorer. He set the school record for career goals this year.

“He is getting confident, he finds the spaces and he finishes well. It’s exciting and gratifying to see your son do well.”

Waterford pulled one back when Will Marshall scored before the close of the half, but that would be the only Waterford goal.

The Lions kept pilling on the pressure in the second half, doubling their score before the end of the game.

Maeser Prep had five separate players score in the victory, but Simmons said that’s to be expected.

“When we’re working and guys are working well together pretty much anyone on this roster is dangerous,” he said.

Of the final, he said, “We’re excited. We’ve never made it to the semifinals before, so an opportunity to play at (Real Salt Lake’s America First Field) for a championship for these boys is everything.

“St. Joseph is a really good team. We’ve never played them before so we’re excited. We saw them play before and we have our work cut out for us for sure, but if we play our game and they play theirs It’s going to be a really good match.”