SHERIDAN — As the clock wound down on the East side of the Big Horn Equestrian Center on Saturday morning, the Cody Fillies weren’t that far removed from the one that got away.
The lone blemish on an otherwise perfect record.
With a 1-0 lead in the regular season finale, Cody conceded two goals in the final 5 minutes to Star Valley as the Braves upset the top team in 3A.
Determined not to falter again with a championship in its grasp, Cody didn’t take any chances this time around.
Worland equalized late in the first half but a brilliant run by Genevieve Sauers finished into the far post in the 49th minute and the Fillies withstood a late flurry to win the Wyoming State High School Class 3A Girls Soccer Championship, 2-1 over their Northwest Conference rivals.
More than a final match at the end of a stellar season, the Fillies saw the championship match as a way to silence critics back home.
“We have a reputation back in Cody that we come to state and we choke and can’t finish,” Sauers said. “It’s just great to overcome that reputation and be able to win.”
Cody’s dominant run of 14 straight wins through the season included victories over Class 4A teams Rock Springs and Green River.
It also included two victories over Worland, both of which were some of the Fillies’ most competitive matches. The Warriors actually led at halftime in the second match until three unanswered goals lifted the eventual champions.
There all along for the Fillies was senior forward Hannah Bailey. She led 3A with 23 goals in the regular season and scored three during the tournament.
For years she was part of Cody teams that came up short. Finally, in the last match of her high school career, she was part of the first Cody team to break through since the program’s only other championship in 2012.
“After three years of getting sixth place at state,” Bailey said, “it’s awesome to come back at the end of my senior year and be the top dog again.”
Adjusting to a more defensive set, she played further back as Worland peppered the defense in the final minutes.
She wanted to possess the ball and take it to the corner to better run the clock down. Except there was one problem standing in the way.
“I was thinking, just get it on that side of the field and possess it,” Bailey said. “But Worland wasn’t going to let that happen.”
Luckily for Cody, the match avoided the stress of overtime.
Nine-month pregnant head coach Marian Miears remained on the sidelines throughout. She watched the Cody boys play before returning home for her Monday due date.
“Watch the boys,” Miears said, “then I got to get the heck back to Cody.”
She can take the state championship trophy with her.