SANDY — Sadie McGreer is just a freshman at Morgan High School.
But when the youngster was called upon to step up in the most nerve-wracking moment — a penalty kick — of the Trojans’ 3A state title match against Judge Memorial, the bright-eyed forward didn’t hesitate.
With one cool look at the right side of the goal, McGreer calmly placed the ball that sailed into the side netting beyond the outstretched arms of Judge goalkeeper Kate Bellew.
And that’s how the Trojans went from a program that hadn’t won a state title before a year ago to one that will enter the 2019 season as two-time defending champions.
McGreer scored the match-winner on a penalty kick in the 23rd minute, and Morgan’s defense held on for a 1-0 win over Judge Memorial that gave the Trojans back-to-back state titles for the first time in school history Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“I was nervous,” McGreer admitted of the penalty. “But I knew that I could do it, and with my team behind me and supporting me, I could make it.”
Her defense took care of the rest.
“It was crazy how many saves we had, and we defended in that second half so good as a team,” she added.
Fresh onto the varsity team, McGreer had a good example to eye as she transitioned to high school soccer, too — her older sister Regan, who helped the Trojans to their first-ever state title in 2017, ironically with a 4-1 win over Judge.
The deep senior class of 2018 left a hole to be filled by Morgan’s youth, but the Trojans filled it with rising stars, including five freshmen who saw significant time in a state championship.
“They set the tone for the juniors and the sophomores, and when we came in, we knew what to do,” McGreer said. “We wanted to take state again, and we built each other up.”
Morgan (10-7-1) had other options to take the decisive penalty kick, too: Sydney Cragun, Morgan’s leading scorer with 13 goals on the year; or perhaps seniors Talli Gardner, Emma Dredge, Hayden Keele or Alexia Stanbridge.
But when Morgan coach Bryan Searle gave the final word to take the spot kick, McGreer was ready.
The freshman barely took an extra step, eyed the goalkeeper once, then looked right past her as she buried her seventh goal of the year.
“She stepped up in a big moment,” Searle said. “I think we played five ninth-graders today, so we’re happy with our program. It’s a young program, and we look forward to the future.”
Morgan’s defense did the rest. Junior goalkeeper Taylor Condie made two second-half saves, including diving to stop a swerving ball with nine minutes remaining that would’ve assuredly forced extra time to the Bulldogs.
“Give credit to Judge; they played us down to the wire, and had plenty of opportunities to put one in, so hat’s off to them,” Searle said. “But I think our girls played with a lot of heart and a lot of effort, and they wanted it. They wanted a repeat, and they left it all out on the field.”
Instead, a year after the Trojans rolled to a championship at the Bulldogs’ expense, they spoiled the run of a Judge side that had defeated them twice in Region 13 play by a combined score of 6-1.
“We just played from the heart, and we played as a team,” McGreer said. “We took it to them."