SANDY — Cedar High sisters Ashley and Nicole Jenkins have grown up playing soccer together, and in the state semifinals the lifelong chemistry they have developed helped the Lady Reds earn a berth into the 3A State Championship match with their 1-0 win over Snow Canyon Friday at Jordan High School.
Ashley and Nicole’s backyard practice paid off as the duo orchestrated a give-and-go goal that was as pretty as you’ll see at any level. Twenty minutes into the stalemate match, older sister Nicole received a slot pass from midfield that she tapped over to her sister. The Warrior defense bit hard, giving Nicole just enough room as she cut towards the goal. Ashley stuck the ball on her and Nicole raced for the goal. Nicole drove to the right side of the goal and, with a defender hanging on her and the keeper closing in, she lasered the ball far side into the back of the net for a spectacular goal.
Younger sister Ashley, who is just a sophomore, said that it all happened so fast, she can’t really remember exactly how it went.
“All I remember was passing it to Nicole,” Ashley Jenkins said. “And her shooting and scoring. I don’t really remember, we passed a bunch.”
With the wisdom of an older sister, senior Nicole chimed in.
“Before we scored, we played really good possession,” Nicole Jenkins said. “We got a slot ball through and then my toe poked on goal pretty much. Ashley and I play really well together and I received it and in that moment, you just have to get something on it towards the goal.”
Cedar head coach Scott Kamachi said the sister combination was absolutely clutch in that moment.
“Nicole went and attacked the goal,” Kamachi said. “She calmly put the ball in the back of the net. She is calm like that where she doesn’t freak out or kick it over the goal so that really shows her maturity. Ashley plays striker and those two can switch on and off, so it’s a lot fun to watch them play.”
After the fantastic goal, Cedar dug in defensively and shut out Snow Canyon for the remainder of the game, avenging a region loss in overtime earlier this year.
Senior defender Whitney Yardley said that teamwork with her defense and direction from goalkeeper Megan Giddings helped the Lady Reds pitch a shutout.
“I think what really helped us win tonight was our teamwork,” Yardley said. “We only had positivity on the field and we are all just a family. I think that you have to trust your teammates and Megan (Giddings) is telling us certain places to go that might not seem right to us, but she can see the whole field. In the end, we know that that was right decision because they didn’t score any goals.”
Snow Canyon came close to scoring several times, but ultimately came up short. One near-goal happened in the 61st minute when Giddings dove, but bobbled a shot for the bottom left corner. The ball slipped out of her hands and hit the post before she stopped the momentum of the ball while it was still on the goal line.
Cedar improved to 14-5 overall and advances to the 3A state title game for the second straight year. The defending champs battle Logan at 4:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium. Snow Canyon finishes its season 9-6-4.
“I think we came out here ready to play,” Yardley said. “I am pumped. I think that since we went to Rio last year we know what we are getting into and we can prepare accordingly. It’s always good going into the finals with a lot of momentum, knowing we played so well tonight.”
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