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DRAPER — In three previous meetings in 2018, Region 1 rivals Syracuse and Layton had games decided by one or fewer goals.
Why not make it a fourth — and a state semifinal, no less?
Sydnee Elmore scored the only goal of the match with 13 minutes remaining, and Layton held on over Davis, 1-0, in a Class 6A state semifinal Tuesday evening at Juan Diego.
“It was just such a sigh of relief,” Elmore said of her goal. “It was so awesome to know that all of our hard work was finally paying off. We finally got that goal, and it was a team effort, which was the best feeling.”
Layton advances to face Lone Peak in the state championship Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
But it almost didn’t come to be.
The Lancers (13-4-2) controlled possession for the first 60 minutes of the game, but had nothing to show for it in a tight, contentious semifinal.
Layton controlled the midfield, but Davis’ Haylee Thompson had the best chance of the first half — a lob towards goal from inside the 6-yard box that would’ve given the Darts (11-5-2) an early lead were it not for Lancers goalkeeper Meg Edwards' point-blank save.
“There are always nerves when we play Davis — and to make it a semifinal game, they were definitely nervous,” Layton coach Tara Ferrin said. “But we just needed to get into the game and get into the rhythm of playing each other.”
Elmore needed just one moment to break through. The senior midfielder dished a deep-lying pass to teammate Atley Thompson in the 66th minute, but immediately turned up field toward the goal before slotting home a give-and-go pass beyond out-rushing Davis goalkeeper Taygan Sill and into the back of the net.
“She’s so good at turning it that I knew I was going to get it back, and I just ran and kicked it in,” Elmore said.
“I was so excited. I just wanted to go hug my teammates.”
After Elmore’s go-ahead goal, Annie Haycock nearly equalized with 10 minutes remaining. But the freshman striker’s volley attempt from Caroline Bitner sailed just wide of the goal mouth, and the Lancers breathed a collective sigh of relief.
“This is just what they’ve been working for,” Ferrin said. “Each game is the most important game for these girls, and now they’ve made it to the most important game.”