SANDY — Shantel Jolley knows what it’s like to lose a state championship on the final day of the season.
As a former Lone Peak soccer standout, Jolley — then Shantel Flanary — led the Knights to three state championship matches … but lost all three of them.
That was nearly 10 years ago.
Ella Neumarker and the Knights were not going to let their coach go through that again.
Neumarker scored the only goal of the match three minutes before halftime, and goalkeeper Mckayla Wetsel and the defense made it stand up, as Lone Peak won its first state title in program history with a 1-0 win over Layton in the Class 6A state title match Friday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It’s something really special to go through as a player,” Jolley said. “I told the girls that I grew up in this situation, and I know how much it sucks to go up and get the second-place trophy, one too many times. I feel like I wanted this for 10-12 years, ever since I was playing — I just wanted one for this program and for this school.
“It’s definitely extra special.”
Lone Peak (16-3-0) put on the pressure in the first half, out-shooting the Lancers 6-1. The dam finally broke with three minutes left in the half, when Neumaker gave the Knights a 1-0 lead.
The junior hovered around the edge of the penalty area as Lone Peak pushed deep, looking for the go-ahead goal. After Layton goalkeeper Meg Edwards pushed aside one attempt, the ball fell right to Neumaker, who took one touch and slid her third goal of the season into the top shelf for the early advantage.
“I just remember the ball spit out, I took a chance, and I hit it,” said Neumarker, who scored her fourth goal of the year. “I’ve been waiting to hit that goal all season.”
Layton (13-5-2) looked to equalize in the second half, but the Knights’ defense was up to the standard.
With Neumarker acting as defensive midfield and shielding Layton leading scorer Atley Thompson from the back line, her defense freed her up to go forward — and eventually score the game-winner on a second effort, her second such attempt of the game after Layton blocked her first one.
After failing to convert on a second-effort ball in the penalty area in the first half, Neumarker made sure she didn’t miss out again.
The rest was up to the defense, including a last-gasp save by Wetsel to seal the shutout in the 79th minute.
Much like in the Knights' 1-0 win over Region 1 power Syracuse in Tuesday's 6A semifinals, one goal was all it took.
Class 5A state final
“I think our defensive line is super strong,” Neumarker said of the Knights’ defense, which ended the year with five-straight shutouts and nine overall. “Our center backs are such strong players, and I have complete trust in them.
“They tell me when to go, and it all depends on communication between us.”
The Knights won their first title in program history, a girls soccer program that has lagged behind its other sports like football, golf and boys basketball.
Finally, the soccer program had its own trophy for the burgeoning case.
“I think we’re one of the last sports at Lone Peak, a school that is known for state titles, to finally get one,” Jolley said. “It’s nice to finally be part of that prestigious title reputation that Lone Peak has.”