Utah high school girls soccer: 2021 season preview

Because the calendar flips to August, that’s normally one of many alerts that summer time is drawing to an in depth for highschool college students.

For highschool ladies soccer gamers, that additionally means the season is lastly right here.

The 2021 season formally kicks off this Tuesday in what figures to be a implausible season after final yr’s playoff heroics by which 4 of the 5 state championships have been determined by one objective, and three of these within the closing minutes or extra time.

Right here’s a more in-depth have a look at every classification heading into the 2021 season:

Davis celebrates after scoring on American Fork in overtime to win the 6A girls soccer state championship at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.

Davis celebrates after scoring on American Fork in extra time to win the 6A ladies soccer state championship at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret Information

Class 6A

Davis and American Fork have met prior to now two state championship video games, every profitable as soon as. Because the 2021 season kicks off, is a third-straight title match-up later this season an inevitability?

If it does occur, it’s a mirrored image on the large depth inside the packages as every college misplaced main contribution in commencement.

Defending champ Davis graduated Deseret Information Ms. Soccer Grace Nicol, Gatorade Participant of the 12 months Alizabeth Arevalo and marquee defender Belle Mark.

“It’s very tough to exchange Ms. Soccer and Gatorade Participant of the 12 months, that’s mainly what we’re coping with. That’s lots of manufacturing and a management, and we’re hoping ladies step into that function and embrace it, however we’re somewhat younger,” mentioned Davis coach Souli Phongsavath.

In all, he mentioned Davis graduated about half of final yr’s key contributors, however he totally believes within the gamers able to tackle bigger roles.

“Now we have a saying and inform the youngsters, custom by no means graduates, and that’s what we’re hoping for these ladies step in and embrace that function,” mentioned Phongsavath.

Taygan Sill is again in objective this season after being named first crew all-state final yr, whereas Annie Haycock at striker and Caroline Bitner in protection are key returners as properly.

American Fork, which misplaced in extra time in final yr’s championship because it missed out on a repeat title, was hit even tougher by commencement with the departure of 12 seniors. That included 4 first crew all-staters and two second-team all-staters.

To get again to lifting trophies, whether or not it’s a area or state, American Fork might be counting on a wholly completely different group of gamers. Coach Derek Dunn doesn’t imagine it’s a rebuild although.

“We’re fortunate sufficient at AF to have a superb funnel system by the golf equipment and issues like that and good children that come by. We’ve been actually fortunate the final 4 years so we’ll see what it seems to be like,” mentioned Dunn, whose crew has who two of the previous 4 6A state championships.

Junior Nicole Lewis is likely one of the prime returners for American Fork. She missed final yr’s closing after breaking her collarbone within the semifinals.

With simply six seniors on the roster and 7 juniors, Dunn might want to depend on much more sophomores this yr, however mentioned he’s excited to see how the contemporary faces embrace varsity soccer.

With a bit extra uncertainty for Davis and American Fork, who have been pegged No. 1 and a couple of within the Deseret Information coaches preseason ballot, 6A might have a extra open really feel to it this season with Layton, Nice Grove and Fremont rounding out the highest 5.

Layton is led by Erin Bailey who returns after recording 26 objectives and 10 assists a yr in the past. The Lancers determine to be Davis’ greatest take a look at in Area 1.

In Area 4, Dunn expects a battle each sport. Lone Peak often is the entrance runner primarily based on expertise because it returns 5 gamers who have been named both all-state second crew and honorable point out. Keeper Eva Chenn can be again after being named first crew.

Olympus’ Emma Neff, who scored the winning goal in extra time, is lifted up as the team celebrates their win over Bonneville in the 5A girls soccer state championship at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.

Olympus’ Emma Neff, who scored the profitable objective in further time, is lifted up because the crew celebrates their win over Bonneville within the 5A ladies soccer state championship at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret Information

Class 5A

Two straight journeys to the finals, two runner-up trophies.

Too say that 5A preseason No. 1 Bonneville has a bitter style in its mouth heading into the 2021 season can be an understatement.

“It’s fixed of their heads. It’s a style of their mouth they need to get out they usually need to have a unique consequence the place they find yourself on prime,” mentioned Bonneville first-year coach Tyler Anderson, who was an assistant coach final yr.

Final yr’s heartbreak got here in extra time to Olympus. With 9 of 11 starters again from final yr’s 17-3 crew, and most of Bonneville’s key subs, a return journey to the ultimate is actually potential.

“Now we have a superb group of seniors and juniors that may lead us this yr and we’re simply excited to get on the market and see how issues go,” mentioned Anderson, who was beforehand the top coach at Bonneville from 2001 to 2004.

Among the many prime returns for Bonneville are first crew all-staters Lexi Hansen and Gabby Carlson and second teamers Summer season Diamond and Sadie Beardall.

Skyline edged area rival Olympus for the No. 2 spot within the preseason rankings because it returns key gamers Ali Swensen and Brianna Frey.

Commencement hit defending state champ Olympus fairly onerous, however coach Jamie Evans believes the items to construct on final yr’s success are there.

“Now we have a superb sturdy core group of returners. It’ll undoubtedly be a unique look, we’re not the identical crew and we received’t play the identical fashion, however we undoubtedly have the expertise I imagine to get us again to a excessive place within the area,” mentioned Evans.

Main the way in which is returning 5A MVP Emma Neff, who scored the OT game-winner in opposition to Bonneville.

Callie Droitsch is a returning all-state keeper for the Titans, whereas Kelly Bullock and Lizzie Dunn are two all-state key contributors again from final yr’s crew that ended a 24-year state title drought.

Murray and Maple Mountain spherical out the Deseret Information preseason prime 5. The rankings determine to alter loads all through the common season in 5A, which options a minimum of a dozen packages with the custom and expertise to be an element.

One of many prime storylines in 5A this season is the variety of high quality returning objective scorers. Murray’s Sammie Sofonia (40 objectives), Springville’s Avery Frischknecht (29 objectives), Maple Mountain’s Allie Fryer (26 objectives) and Skyline’s Ali Swensen (24 objectives) are all again this season.

Ridgeline and Ogden face off in the 4A girls soccer state championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.

Ridgeline and Ogden face off within the 4A ladies soccer state championship sport at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret Information

Class 4A

Defending state champion Ridgeline heads into the 2021 season because the preseason No. 1 and loads of expertise to repeat, it’s simply that coach Mark Thueson has no thought what that completed product will appear to be.

“Now we have 21 ladies and each considered one of them might begin,” mentioned Thueson, who’s coming into is fourth season as Ridgeline head coach.

His greatest 11 will probably separate itself because the season progresses, nevertheless it’s that collective depth why Ridgeline is likely one of the frontrunners in 4A.

“These ladies are centered on the fitting factor, how will we come collectively as a crew. Workforce chemistry is big. So once we begin specializing in the fitting issues then efficiency begins to raise after which we elevate one another. There’s not a caustic competitors, how will we make one another higher, and these ladies have embodied that for 4 years,” mentioned Thueson.

Ridgeline’s prime returning participant from a yr in the past is junior defender Carly Eubanks, who was an all-state honorable point out.

Crimson Cliffs begins the season ranked No. 2 within the preseason rankings after a robust semifinal run a yr in the past for the second-year college. This system has a brand new head coach for yr three, Kat Esplin, and she or he’s impressed however the group she inherited.

“It’s been actually excited attending to know them. My first actual expertise with them was a camp this summer time up at Layton and I used to be blown away by their expertise. I heard once I bought the job that I’d have an incredible crew, and it appears to be true. They’re all working onerous, they’re all making an attempt to return collectively as they’re all from separate golf equipment round Southern Utah,” mentioned Esplin.

Crimson Cliff’s power needs to be within the assault as ahead Jantzyn Losee and midfielder Kate Younger each returning for his or her senior seasons after being named first-team all-state a yr in the past.

Rounding out the highest 5 within the preseason rankings are Sky View, Mountain Crest and Snow Canyon.

With simply 13 groups in 4A this yr, the classification is actually a bit extra diluted than it was a yr in the past. Seven of the eight quarterfinalists, nevertheless, got here from both Northern or Southern Utah, so a lot of the top-end expertise stays within the classification.

Morgan goalkeeper Viana Johnson blocks a shot during the 3A girls soccer championship game against Manti at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Morgan won 3-1.

Morgan goalkeeper Viana Johnson blocks a shot throughout the 3A ladies soccer championship sport in opposition to Manti at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Morgan received 3-1.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret Information

Class 3A

Morgan received 17 video games final season and lifted the state championship trophy, however coach Bryan Searle is fast to shrug off the notion that his crew is favored to repeat in 3A.

He mentioned that dialog ought to start and finish with Ogden, which is dropping down from a classification after an awesome runner-up end in 4A a yr in the past.

“To have them come into the area, you higher gear up for them and be able to play in opposition to them. They’re an unimaginable crew, they usually’re getting some nice freshman. They’re going to be loopy, loopy good,” mentioned Searle.

In actuality, preseason No. 1 Morgan and No. 2 Ogden each face some uncertainty this season.

Morgan graduated eight starters and 9 seniors, whereas Ogden graduated 9 seniors.

Success for each will rely on how shortly the newcomers alter to their expanded roles on the squad.

“We’re proud of the crew now we have. It’s a little bit little bit of a rebuilding yr,” admitted Searle. “Not anybody actually stands out on the crew, I feel this yr we’re going to lean on extra the entire crew than any particular person gamers like we’ve had prior to now.”

The highest returning gamers for Morgan are senior keeper Viana Johnson and junior ahead Jayda Jones.

Ogden has a slight leg up in expertise because it returns final yr’s main scorer Tori Kalista, who’s poised for probably a good larger season

“I don’t assume she’s missed a day of the summer time stuff we’ve accomplished, and lots of that’s she actually desires to not solely be good and carry out, however she actually desires to be a enjoyable group to be part of so she’s taking that function severely,” mentioned Ogden coach Ryan Robinson.

Lots of her teammates might be underclassmen, which makes her management together with fellow senior defender Sae Obayashi all of the extra essential.

Rounding out the coaches preseason prime 5 are Decide Memorial, Actual Salt Lake Academy and Manti.

From an skilled standpoint, Decide could have a leg up on everybody else in 3A as eight of its prime contributors from final season have been underclassman. Decide narrowly misplaced to Morgan within the semis a yr in the past, and new coach Eric Bumabate hopes to have his crew peaking in October this yr.

RSL Academy is leaping as much as 3A after being a 2A runner-up final season.

Rowland Hall players celebrate winning the 2A girls soccer state championship game against Real Salt Lake Academy at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Rowland Hall won 3-2.

Rowland Corridor gamers have fun profitable the 2A ladies soccer state championship sport in opposition to Actual Salt Lake Academy at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Rowland Corridor received 3-2.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret Information

Class 2A

Rowland Corridor tied a state file by profitable its 4 straight state championship a yr in the past, and with the expertise returning this season a fifth-straight state title looks like an inevitability.

Eight of the 9 Rowland Corridor gamers who have been named both all-state first crew, second crew or honorable point out are again this season, and the ninth participant can be again Jada Crockett is as a substitute specializing in observe and making an attempt to make the junior Olympics crew.

On prime of that returning dominance, final yr’s 2A runner-up — RSL Academy — bumped up a classification to 3A dilutes the standard of competitors as properly.

Regardless of that reality, Rowland Corridor coach Colette Jepson mentioned her crew isn’t taking something as a right heading into the season.

“That’s the expectation that we placed on ourselves, however nothing is given to us. Within the state closing we have been down a big a part of the sport and we hadn’t been down for an entire half till that state closing sport. We all know that something can occur in soccer,” mentioned Jepson.

Rounding out the preseason prime 5 are St. Joseph, Waterford, Parowan and Beaver.

Parowan and Millard have been 2A semifinalists a yr in the past, whereas Maeser Prep additionally figures to play an element within the 2A race because it drops down from 3A.



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