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Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Back on top: Haycock's golden goal lifts Davis by American Fork 1-0 for first state title since 2016

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Oct. 23, 2020 at 10:46 p.m.


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SANDY — Davis High's girls soccer team was exhausted.

After 80 minutes of defensive, competitive, hard and fast soccer, the Darts were dragging their feet near the end of regulation of Friday night's Class 6A state championship.

After Davis and American Fork combined for 26 shots, so were the Cavemen.

But in the extra session, the Darts just needed one chance.

Annie Haycock put in a rebound after striking the crossbar, and Davis lifted the 6A title trophy with a 1-0 win over reigning champion American Fork at Rio Tinto Stadium.

For the first time since 2016, the Darts were back on top.

"There was no hate on this team. Everybody loves playing together, and that's what made soccer fun for us," Haycock said, surrounded by her teammates who cooed and crowed on her every word.

"I think this year we matured way more to be on the field," she added. "Playing semis here helped, too, to get us a better feel of our surroundings. That helped us pull through and win today, and I think we really deserved it."

Taygan Sill made three saves on 10 shots faced to earn the shutout for Davis (19-1), which won a state title for the first time since the Darts' three-peat dynasty from 2014-16.

Clear another space in the trophy case. After gradually building up from a quarterfinal loss as freshmen to last year's 1-0 defeat to the Cavemen, Davis' senior class finally recaptured the top prize and ended American Fork's run at a third state title in four years.

"I think we came into this game thinking just that: they are not winning again," Sill said. "This is our state championship to win, and that is what pushed us.

"Last year, so many of us had so many regrets after that game. We just all knew that we weren't ending this game with any regrets. It was for our seniors this year."

It was the ultimate prize for a group of seniors — many of whom were on the field when Haycock slipped in behind the defense after a long-range shot caromed off the crossbar — who have seen a total rebuild of the once-nationally ranked program less than five years removed from a mythical national championship.

"I couldn't be any more proud of these girls," Davis coach Souli Phongsavath said. "We just took step by step by step until we were able to pull it off. I just think we had more confidence coming in. Last year, we were a little just happy to be here; playing on this stage got into our heads a bit. But this year, we were on a mission. We were not going to settle for anything less than a state championship."

Davis out-shot the Cavemen 7-4 in the first half, but American Fork (18-3) had arguably the best chances. Josie Shepherd struck a side-footed free kick from 20 yards out that tapped over the crossbar in the 28th minute, and Addie Gardner had her own attempt saved in front of goal just three minutes later.

But with what Phongsavath calls the most underrated defense in the state — one that allowed just one goal in four postseason contests, Sill, senior Belle Mark and the rest of the back line stood tall.

"Not a lot of people talk about our defense, but we gave up 11 goals all year," Phongsavath said. "None of those girls get the recognition that they need, but I couldn't be more happy for them, as well."

Gardner sent the American Fork crowd to its feet in he 76th minute, connecting on a cross-field play and burying a shot from the edge of the box into the back of the net. But the offside flag was up.

That set up golden-goal extra time. Next score wins.

And Haycock did just that, when the junior forward erased nearly a half-decade of regret and added the final building block to help the Darts recapture that elusive title.

"If it stayed 0-0, we had the advantage. We love our keeper," Phongsavath said. "But if we get a chance, bury it. That's what we did. We got our chance, and we buried it."

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