SANDY ¬-- It was six St. Joseph High freshmen on the field against an undefeated, experienced Grand team that lost in the state championship last year.
And for the most part, you couldn't tell the difference.
But the Jayhawks' youth finally caught up with them late as Grand rallied for a 2-1 victory in the state 2-A semifinals at Jordan High School.
Kryston Saunders' header off a corner kick in the 77th minute gave the Red Devils the lead and Grand (15-0) held off a late Jayhawk (7-8) rally for a berth in Saturday's championship game at Rio Tinto.
"A couple of mistakes, we get out of position and they (Grand) capitalize," said St. Joseph coach Derek Tate. "We controlled the run of the game and had a lot of dangerous opportunities with freshmen playing crucial positions. I'm proud of the effort."
Keeper Mitch Koehler kept the Jayhawks in the game with a phenomenal game.
"He was amazing," Tate said of Koehler. "He got us out of so many situations."
Dino Soto paced St. Joseph's offense in the first half, creating numerous chances and finding a way to get past the Grand defenders.
On one, he got past two defenders for an excellent chance that required a diving save. In the 32nd minute, Soto placed his shot high in the next to give the Jay hawks a 1-0 lead.
"Dino's the best player in 2-A at his position," Tate said. "He's hard to handle."
Grand took control of the game midway through the second half.
The Red Devils tied the game in the 63rd minute after St. Joseph was called for a hand ball in the penalty box.
Darren Nokomo beat Koehler on the penalty kick for the equalizer.
The Jayhawks finished the season with a 7-8-0 mark.
3-A semifinals Wasatch 2, Ben Lomond 0
At Sandy, for Ben Lomond coach Ayisha Eardley, Friday's 2-0 loss to Wasatch was a matter of finishing.
The Wasps capitalized on their chances and a stout defensive effort by their backfield put an end to Ben Lomond's best season in over 11 years here at Jordan High School.
Wasatch plays for the 3-A championship Saturday morning at Rio Tinto. Ben Lomond's year concludes with a 12-6-1 mark.
"We just weren't finishing," Eardley said. "We got the ball on their side of the field and had our opportunities, but we couldn't do it. That's soccer. You have to finish.
The Scots' kept extending their postseason shutout streak to 119 minutes, but the Wasps finally broke just before halftime.
With 41 seconds remaining, Wasatch's Devon Hall crossed the ball in from the right side as Frankie Perez slipped behind the Scots defensive line. Perez one-touched it to the right side of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Ben Lomond had controlled the action for most of the late portion of the half before Wasatch made the quick counter attack.
"It took them (Wasatch) 40 minutes to get that goal," Eardley said. "It was a tough first half."
Wasatch used the goal to establish momentum in the second half, but Ben Lomond rallied and had multiple chances to score down the stretch, including three corner kicks.
The Wasps added an insurance goal with 11 minutes when Oscar Aguilar scored.
Bryan Garay and Luis Oseguera each finished the season with 12 goals for the Scots.
"The team played their hearts out the entire season," Eardley said. "We had our ups and downs just like every other team, every other sport. Today Wasatch was the better team."