The 6A soccer semifinal matches were played at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Tuesday, where Syracuse and Skyridge advanced to the championship match.

Syracuse 4, Lone Peak 1

Lone Peak has dominated 6A soccer this season, as the Knights finished the regular season with a 15-0 record and outscored all opponents 49-7.

Heading into the state tournament the Knights were awarded the No. 1 seed, earned a spot in the 6A semifinals, and were far and away favorites to take the state title.

So, who was it that took these titans down? It was none other than the unsuspecting 12 seed, the Syracuse Titans.

Syracuse had a rocky regular season, going 6-6 in region play, which landed it fourth in Region 1.

However, that hasn’t stopped the Titans from a Cinderella postseason run that has earned them a spot in the state championship game.

“We finally got the side of the bracket I’ve been praying for 17 years as a coach. That matters,” said Syracuse head coach Taylor Allen. “There are teams we wanted to avoid, and we avoided them. I’m going to say it, I did not want to play Davis and Fremont.

“We knew that every team had all the pressure except for us. We’ve already overachieved by probably three rounds, so who cares. We’ve gotten through tough game after tough game after tough game. It’s truly the most relaxed playoff environment I’ve had as a coach.”

The relaxed playoff environment seemed to be a major factor in the Titans' 4-1 victory over Lone Peak.

But, it was the Knights who struck first Tuesday in the 16th minute off a goal from Jackson Gunther.

With his team down 1-0, Jack Cook exploded for a hat trick, including a goal in the opening 18 seconds of the second half.

“Honestly it was a lot of film work,” said Cook. “Lone Peak was 17-0 for a reason, so for us to prepare for a team like that meant watching a lot of games and watching their tendencies on their back line.

“We knew they had weak spots in their pressing and a lot of teams don’t press them, so we decided to flip it and it worked really well.”

Cook also credits the Titans' lack of expectations as a driving force in the postseason.

“We just have fight, man. We’re a 12 seed. We have no pressure to win games,” said Cook. “That just gives us the full opportunity to go out there and just ball.

“There’s no pressure for us to win so we can go out there and play freely while a 17-0 team has everything to lose. Makes it a lot easier to play.”

With less than two minutes remaining, Easton Cragun scored the fourth and final goal for Syracuse to put the exclamation mark on the win.

While the Titans scored four goals, the defensive play from Syracuse cannot be understated, as the Syracuse defense held off multiple pushes from the Knights.

“Give those dudes in the back and the keeper a lot of credit,” said Allen. “They’ve grown the most in the last four months by far.

“Our offense has always been potent and explosive. Look at those Fremont games where we were scored on 12 times in two games. Lone Peak on film was by far the most explosive team we’ve seen this year and the defense did a great job.” 

Skyridge 1, Pleasant Grove 1 (Skyridge advances on PKs 4-3)

Games rarely get more bizarre than Skyridge’s 6A semifinal shootout win over Pleasant Grove.

The Vikings and Falcons were only able to play for about 20 minutes in Zions Bank Stadium before lightning delayed the game for over two hours.

When the teams finally got the green light to take the field, they only played about 10 more minutes before more rain and lightning came to delay the game further.

With eight minutes remaining in the first half, the game was moved to the Zions Bank Stadium’s indoor facility.  

Things looked rough for Skyridge after the hiatus after Pleasant Grove’s Nathan Martinez found the back of the net for a 1-0 Vikings lead.

“They stayed in it. They didn’t get down on each other. They were pumping each other up and trying to help each other get through it,” said Skyridge head coach Jerry Priesendorf.

“We played really sloppy at times, but you know, they got away with it and we’ll just move on. It’s just about results now, about how we play. It’s not exactly how I want to play but that’s OK, we’ll take it. It’ll be fun Thursday (in the championship).”

Down a goal, the Falcons took advantage of a free kick after a yellow card was assessed to the Vikings. Lucas White sent a ball into the box that Joshua Guymon headed home to level the score at 1-1.

Neither team broke the tie through the rest of regulation or overtime, leading to a shootout to determine who will face Syracuse in the 6A championship match.

Pleasant Grove’s opening two shots were off the mark and Skyridge led the shootout 2-0.

However, the Vikings nailed their remaining three shots, and keeper Stephen Bichon had a great save to tie it 3-3.

Skyridge’s Joshua Guymon stepped up as the fifth and final kicker for the Falcons. Guymon placed a shot in the lower right corner and scored to win the game for Skyridge.

“I will be honest, I was really nervous. I just knew I wanted to put it bottom right and all my teammates were helping me out,” said Guymon.

“The best thing you can do is pick out a spot, breathe, pick your head up and slot it right in. It’s amazing, I think it's one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life.”

Priesendorf says he’s excited to go back to America First Field for the championship.

“I haven’t been there for two years so it’s great,” said Priesendorf, “but we’re not finished. Their goal was to win state and they’re not done, so here we go.”