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6A soccer semifinals: Short stands tall for Weber, Parra for Skyridge to set up title tilt

Weber Warriors celebrate their win in the 6A boys soccer semifinals against the Fremont Silverwolves at Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper on Monday, May 24, 2021.

(Annie Barker, Deseret News)

5 photos

DRAPER — It can get pretty lonely playing behind the attack of Weber's boys soccer team.

The Warriors entered Monday averaging 2.6 goals, outscoring opponents 43-2 on the season and earning the top seed in the Class 6A state tournament en route to the state semifinals at Juan Diego Catholic High School.

But there's always a moment for which goalkeeper Stockton Short has to be ready, a moment to pounce. Fall asleep, and he'll give up an impressive shutout streak that dates back six matches.

Make it seven, actually.

Brady Bennett, Collin Jones and Quayd Berry each scored a goal, and Short rolled up his 15th shutout of the year to help Weber to a 3-0 win over Region 1 rival Fremont and advance to the 6A state championship match Friday at Rio Tinto Stadium.

"This team's been special all year," said Short, who stands 6-foot-2. "It shows in how hard we work."

The Warriors (18-0) advanced to face Skyridge in the 6A championship match Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT.

Short didn't make many saves — he's averaging just 3.4 per game. But Fremont (8-12) found its moment in the 69th minute, when Elijah Taylor found Tyler Ware in transition as he rushed toward goal.

That's when Short pounced on the ball near the six-yard box — his best save of the match to that point — to keep the clean sheet.

The Weber Warriors face off against the Fremont Silverwolves in the 6A boys soccer semifinals at Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper on Monday, May 24, 2021. The Warriors are moving on to the championships.
The Weber Warriors face off against the Fremont Silverwolves in the 6A boys soccer semifinals at Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper on Monday, May 24, 2021. The Warriors are moving on to the championships. (Photo: Annie Barker, Deseret News)

"You always have to be focused," Short said. "You can't take a play off. That's when they get you.

"We try to keep that zero every game, no matter what," Short added, before a grin spread across his face. "It makes it a lot easier to win games, usually."

Bennett gave the Warriors all the scoring they would need, converting a header off a corner kick in the 17th minute to go up 1-0.

Jones doubled the advantage just before the half-hour mark, finishing off a pinpoint cross from Colby Lee from near the penalty spot en route to Weber's 2-0 advantage at halftime.

Berry nearly added another in the 68th minute, but the senior's free header struck the post instead of the net as the Warriors searched for a third goal.

Berry found it in the 77th minute, when he sprinted down the right sideline and blasted a shot over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net before celebrating at the corner flag.

What's the secret to Weber's strong defense, one of the best in state history that is flirting with the all-time mark of fewest goals allowed — five total, set by Brighton in 2006 and Bonneville in 2004 (and not including the pandemic-shortened season of 2020)?

A good offense is a good start.

"We train every person to defend, whether they're an offensive or defensive player," Weber coach Jan Swift said. "Everyone plays defense. Everyone plays offense. They move the ball around as a team and push together."

It's a philosophy that has the Warriors just one win away from their first state title since 2019 after eliminating the Silverwolves, who qualified for the all-comers RPI-based state tournament with the No. 21 overall seed and won three games by a goal or less to set up Monday's semifinal.

Skyridge 2, Herriman 1

Goals change games.

So do red cards.

Andrew Parra scored with less than two minutes remaining to help Skyridge rally by Herriman in the other 6A semifinal.

The Falcons (16-4) scored two goals after the Mustangs were reduced to 10 men in the 51st minute to overturn a 1-0 deficit and advance to their first championship match in school history.

Mason Ayers gave the Mustangs an early advantage with a flying goal in the 10th minute, striking a glancing shot into the back of the net as he ran toward the opposite corner flag to celebrate.

Herriman (15-4) took the lead into the 50th minute, when Josh Conover received a second yellow card that forced the Mustangs down to 10 players. The Falcons threw everything forward, including forcing three saves from Herriman goalkeeper Shayn Thomsen to make three saves in a span of eight minutes while Skyridge searched for the equalizer.

It finally came in the 67th minute, when Jackson Warden rounded three Herriman defenders and slotted a shot inside the far post. The senior nearly broke through again two minutes later, but his counter-attacking shot sailed just wide of the far post.

Para scored the match-winner with less than two minutes remaining, finishing off a strong move by Nicholas Saunders to send the Falcons to their first 6A title match in school history.


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