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Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Neff's golden goal leads Olympus girls soccer to 5A championship, first title since 1996

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Oct. 23, 2020 at 7:51 p.m.


4 photos

SANDY — Necie Gubler is a weapon on set pieces for Olympus High's girls soccer team.

Emma Neff's head is equally as dangerous.

Put the two together, and it adds up to a 24-year streak-buster.

Neff's golden goal off Gubler's corner kick in the first period of extra time helped fourth-seeded Titans hold off No. 2 Bonneville 1-0 Friday night to clinch Olympus' first girls soccer championship since 1996.

"Necie's amazing," Neff said, giving credit to her teammate. "Necie can put the ball anywhere you tell her; she just does it. It's amazing to watch."

Gubler gave equal credit to the 5-foot-5 midfielder with a golden head.

"I know Emma's the best header on our team," Gubler said. "She was standing right in the six, and I knew if I hit to her, she'd get it in. And she put it in."

Callie Droitsch made two saves to earn the shutout for the Titans (19-2), who allowed just one goal in their state tourney run and anchored a back line that out-paced opponents 13-1 in the postseason.

If you think that's an improbable run, you're not alone.

"I never thought we would win this, honestly," Gubler said. "But once we got close, our coaches are so good and they made our team chemistry so much better this year.

"Once we got into the playoffs, I realized we might have a chance at winning it all."

Bonneville's Sadie Beardall was inches away from giving the Lakers (17-3) a 1-0 lead with a shot in the 42nd minute that graced the top of the crossbar as it sailed high. Bonneville, which lost via golden goal in the championship match for the second-straight year, which added five more shots, including two on frame, but Droitsch and the Titan defense pushed each one aside.

Neff nearly won it in regulation, when the junior midfielder broke through the Bonneville defense on a counter attack in the 78th minute. The 5-foot-5 dribbled into a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper, but Neff was stonewalled immediately after Bonneville saw a pair of shots veer off course on the other end during the scoreless draw in regulation.

All it took in extra time was a set piece, and a weapon like Gubler's left foot and Neff's head.

"We got a chance to get Emma heading the ball into the goal, and she'll finish that every time," Olympus coach Jamie Evans said. "Necie's job is to find Emma and Meg in the box, and I know she saw Emma there and just placed it for her."

Olympus won its first state title since 1996, when the Titans capped a three-peat under form coach Kris Korbis. This year's squad entered the postseason with a Region 6 championship six-game winning streak. But it wasn't until an 8-0 win over Payson in the opening round of the playoffs that the Titans considered themselves worthy of a repeat.

But with one flick of her head, Neff handed Olympus its all-important title.

A moment in which she admits she blacked out.

"I don't even remember," Neff said. "I just saw the ball coming, and just jumped. I don't really know; it just kind of happened."

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Sean Walker

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