High school boys soccer: Wasatch wins second 5A title in three years

Wasatch celebrates their win over Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023.
Wasatch celebrates their win over Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Wasatch had an impressive season leading up to Thursday’s 5A championship match against Alta, with a 16-1 record and zero goals allowed in either of its quarterfinal or semifinal matches.

The Wasps last won the 5A title in 2021 and they expected to win one more to match at Real Salt Lake’s America First Field.

No more than 90 seconds after the opening whistle, the Wasps’ Cole Simpson punted the ball forward to Jackson Hanley who outran his defender and placed it in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

“They just wanted it; they have wanted it all year,” said Wasatch head coach Jared Hendry.

“We knew coming in that we were going to play some great teams and Alta is a great team. We were able to get a couple of great shots off and it was just awesome.”

“We’re relentless on the attack and the boys just kept going and we tell them that if they keep attacking the goals are going to come.”

Immediately following Hanley’s goal, the referee blew his whistle, signaling a 30-minute lightning delay.

Following the delay Alta seemed to have renewed energy and pressed the Wasatch defense. Finally, with four minutes remaining in the half, Hawks’ Brock Bennion broke through on a penalty kick to tie the game 1-1.

Wasatch celebrates their win over Alta with the student body in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch celebrates their win over Alta with the student body in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch goalie Jackson Medina (99) celebrates the win over Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch goalie Jackson Medina (99) celebrates the win over Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch’s Jacob Balch (28) shoots on Alta goalie Thiago Moreira in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch’s Jacob Balch (28) shoots on Alta goalie Thiago Moreira in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Wasatch vs. Alta in the 5A soccer championship game in Sandy on Thursday, May 25, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Wasatch entered the second half with renewed energy, In the opening minutes Hanley found Jayden Cosper in the box for a 2-1 Wasatch lead.

The Wasps didn’t stop there, soon after Simpson struck again for the Wasatch and placed a shot in the top left corner for a 3-1 lead.

“I feel like the delay lowered our energy a little bit, but I think we picked it back up and got going in the second half. It means a lot, we’ve gotten really close over the course of this season,” said Simpson.

Since he’s a sophomore, Simpson wasn’t on the team during the 2021 Wasatch title, but he sat in the stands and knew he wanted to win one for himself.

“I just wanted it so bad after we won it. I wanted to come in and help to take one myself and we did it, it’s amazing.”

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Wasatch never let up on its pressure and Liam Davis scored the fourth and final goal for the Wasps.

Alta’s Preston Ludlow did score one before the end of the game, but it was not enough to overcome the 4-1 deficit and Wasatch won its second title in three years.

Following the win, Coach Hendry said he couldn’t be happier with the program's recent success.

“Our boys are just great; it’s just been great the last three years,” said Hendry.

“Last year Skyline got us out, but we beat them this year and got them out. These boys just keep wanting it, they’re already talking about it next year and we’ll take next year when it comes.”

“These boys are just terrific, they are so great, and they work so hard in the offseason. They go and play at a high level so that when they come to play for our school and our community, they’re just so proud and grateful for the opportunity.”