Desert Hills drubs Park City, hoists first-ever state soccer trophy

Desert Hills vs. Park City, Boys Soccer State Championship, Herriman, Utah, May 12, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

HERRIMAN – Park City got Thunderstruck.

Desert Hills captured its first-ever boys soccer championship Saturday by downing the Miners 4-0 at RSL Academy in the 4A title game. Kelton Holt and Walker Heaton each scored twice and sophomore Preston Hodges notched yet another shutout in goal as the Thunder owned the pitch and now the 4A first-place trophy.

We knew we had a talented team at the beginning of the year, but it takes more than talent to win,” Desert Hills head coach Benji Nelson said. “It takes hard work, it takes a positive attitude and a willingness to sacrifice for your team family. That’s what we figured out these last 2 1/2 months. Every game we had a different guys step up and perform. Some silently, and others with the spotlight. In the end, they all get the spotlight.”

Desert Hills vs. Park City, Boys Soccer State Championship, Herriman, Utah, May 12, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The Miners got to the title game by playing fierce defense and it looked like they might pitch their fourth straight shutout in the first half. For 35-plus minutes neither team could score. But Desert Hills, which hasn’t lost a match since mid-March, finally broke through in the 35th minute when Holt got a through ball from Heaton and beat the keeper for the icebreaker.

The Thunder held that 1-0 lead at intermission, but it took just 30 seconds of the second half to double it. Garrett Cottle sent a soaring free kick across the goal front and Holt spiked it into the upper right part of the goal with a succinct header to make it 2-0.

We came off at halftime feeling confident that if we stayed with our game plan, things would go our way,” Nelson said.

Desert Hills’ Kelton Holt (2) scores on a header during the second half, Desert Hills vs. Park City, Boys Soccer State Championship, Herriman, Utah, May 12, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Four minutes later, Ben Simister spurted past a defender and toward the goal, getting tackled inside the goal box. The resulting penalty kick, buried by Heaton, made it 3-0 and started an early celebration for many D-Hills fans.

When Heaton scored his second of the afternoon to make it 4-0, it was just a matter of time before the real celebration could begin.

What a humbling experience to have seen a group of high school teenagers come together and create a memory we will cherish jointly forever,” Nelson said.

The Thunder really did pick the best time of year to get hot. Since starting the season 3-2-1, D-Hills has gone undefeated. The Thunder, 13-2-4, won their last seven games in a row.

Hodges, just a sophomore, recorded his eighth shutout of the season in the victory. The speedy Heaton ended up with 17 goals in 2018, tops on the team.

Park City finishes the season with a 13-5-2 record.

4A state playoffs – 1st Round results
Park City 4, Bear River 0
Snow Canyon 3, Salem Hills 0
Orem 5, Pine View 1
Juan Diego 2, Mt. Crest 1
Desert Hills 2, Mt. View 1
Logan 1, Ben Lomond 0
Bonneville 2, Sky View 0
Dixie 8, Spanish Fork 0

4A state playoffs – Quarterfinal results
Park City 1, Snow Canyon 0 (F/2OT)
Juan Diego 0, Orem 0 (JD wins PKs 5-4)
Desert Hills 2, Logan 1
Dixie 4, Bonneville 2

4A state playoffs – Semifinal matchups
Thursday

Desert Hills 2, Dixie 1
Park City 2, Juan Diego 0

4A state playoffs – Championship
Desert Hills 4, Park City 0


Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in Desert Hills, Sports, Top Sports Stories, UtahTagged , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.