Judge Memorial golden goal sinks Morgan in 3A soccer title game

Saturday , May 12, 2018 - 9:54 PM

Editor’s note: Due to an error in the Utah High School Activities Association record book, a previous version of this story incorrectly state that Morgan boys soccer had never won a state championship. Morgan High won state championships in 1991 and 1992. That information is currently reflected in this story.

HERRIMAN — Trek Loveridge still had crumb rubber beads from the artificial turf on his forehead, he was walking with bare feet and carrying a trophy. 

All around him were the red, splotchy faces of his Morgan Trojans soccer teammates, unable to hold their emotions after 97 minutes of the most taxing, emotional game of their season and quite possibly their high school career.

Their hearts were broken by Joe Paul.

Paul scored a 97th-minute golden-goal winner on a counter attack as Judge Memorial beat Morgan 1-0 in the 3A soccer state championship game Saturday at the brand-new Zions Bank Stadium at Real Salt Lake Academy in Herriman.

Up to that point Morgan, and Loveridge specifically, had absorbed the brunt of the Bulldogs’ attacking prowess and still kept the score at 0-0.

“It crushed me, but I played my hardest and did the best I possibly could,” Loveridge said. 

He paused for a moment.

“I’m trying to keep my emotions in,” Loveridge said.

Loveridge, Morgan’s senior keeper, dealt with close-range free kicks, volleys, low shots and wayward passes alike in a game that Morgan nearly won multiple times once the two played a scoreless 80 minutes and went into extra time.

He made eight saves in the match, the most impressive of which came in the 26th minute when he pushed away a low shot that bounced right in front of him. 

“He had some phenomenal saves, if he doesn’t have those phenomenal saves we’re done. So I give him 100 percent of the credit, it takes a whole team, I understand that, but he had a phenomenal game,” Morgan head coach Jared Andersen said.

Four years ago, Loveridge’s mom made him wear a long-sleeved Spiderman-themed shirt with the number zero on it as his goalkeeper jersey.

The senior goalkeeper has worn it ever since, and there were times in the game where he sort of embodied the web-shooting superhero weaving between skyscrapers.

There was the tough shot that bounced in front of him, there was the dipping shot that he deflected up, fell down and quickly got back up to scoop up. There were the numerous crosses Judge players sent into the box that Loveridge caught.

A strong Morgan contingent, approximately 400 fans, cheered each time the Trojans cleared a dangerous Judge situation or simply booted the ball past midfield. The game was that one-sided for long stretches.

The Trojans and Bulldogs matched up twice this year in Region 13 play. Judge won both times: 4-3 in Morgan and 4-1 in Salt Lake City.

As the game went on, it was clear the Trojans had done a very good job limiting Judge’s attack, which had scored eight goals in each of its three playoff wins before Saturday.

“They played as hard as they could today and for them to carry a powerful team like Judge Memorial into overtime, I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Andersen said. “All it needs is a bounce one way or another and we’re winning the game.”

Where Morgan had trouble keeping possession at times in the first half, the Trojans found more space and got more chances late. Jacob Firby came closest to scoring in the 82nd minute of extra time with a close-range shot that was deflected over.

The Trojans worked the ensuing corner kick into a shot on goal by Carson Flitton from just inside the box that Judge goalkeeper Jaciel Guzman held on to.

Three minutes later, a nervous and chaotic game became downright frantic when Flitton was unmarked at the near post and nearly scored with a flick-on off a free kick. Judge immediately broke from the danger and Loveridge had to come out to stop a Bulldogs 1-on-1 chance.

“Morgan’s a good team. You have to put goals away early, if you want to score goals you have to do it early on because the more and more the game goes on, the closer and closer it is,” Judge head coach Kelly Terrill said.

In the 95th minute, Morgan had two close-range chances to score from Firby and Bryant Johnson, but there were too many Judge defenders in the way. The Trojans had an unmarked header on the ensuing corner kick and that went wide, to the sheer relief of Guzman.

As the game went on, there was a sense each time Morgan touched the ball that it would end in something special. The last time Morgan won a boys soccer title was 1992, the second of two consecutive championships when Andersen was playing on the team.

The wait continues.

4A/3A/2A ACADEMIC ALL-STATE

4A: Mathis Burton (Bonneville), Dallin Degroot (Bonneville)

2A: Robert Schoof (St. Joseph)

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickcarr_ or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/patrickcarr17.

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