Tom Smart, Deseret News
Winning a state championship in any sport is difficult.
Repeating is even more difficult, but more times than not over the past decade a girls soccer team was won back-to-back state titles.
This season, defending state champs Viewmont, Bonneville, Snow Canyon and Waterford will try and join the seven other teams over the past 10 years to win consecutive state titles. It certainly won’t be easy, though, as powerhouse programs like Alta, Timpanogos, Park City and St. Joseph will most definitely be standing in their way.
With region play gearing up this week across the state, here’s a brief look at how things are shaping up in each classification:
Coming off its first state championship in 14 years, the Viewmont Vikings hope a return to the ultra-competitive Region 1 pushes them back into state title contention.
So far, the results have been mixed after the graduation of eight seniors from last year’s 19-1 team. Viewmont dropped a 4-1 preseason game to Brighton two weeks ago, but it kicked off region play last week with victories over Davis and Weber.
Cleaning up the defensive shortcomings that Brighton exposed will be key as the season unfolds, because come playoff time, defense wins championships. Nobody realizes that more than Viewmont after its outstanding playoff run in 2012, which included wins over Weber, Davis, Lone Peak and then No. 1 Alta in the championship game.
“With an exciting and challenging schedule to be played this season, the return of several significant contributors, and a roster full of young talent, we expect this season to be another year full of excitement and promise for the Vikings,” said Tate.
Viewmont may be the defending champ, but Alta is still the team everyone is gunning for.
Led by BYU commits Bizzy Phillips and Madie Lyons, the Hawks are off to a 3-0 start this season with 21 goals scored and zero surrendered. Alta features arguably the most dynamic team in the state and will be tough to beat.
Coming off a disappointing quarterfinal ouster in 2012, perennial contender Brighton returns key starters Stephanie Ringwood and Jocelyn Loomis to make a run at state.
“We will be a top contender once the chemistry comes together and we become unified. Our senior leadership will be a great strength and will guide us throughout the season. We have a very challenging schedule this year and look forward to being tested early,” said Brighton coach Mark Stoker.
His team surprisingly dropped a preseason game to Maple Mountain in the first week of the season, but the Bengals bounced back quickly with an impressive 4-1 win over Viewmont.
Region 4 figures to be the most balanced league in 5A with as many as four teams capable of winning the league title.
Timpanogos has emerged as an early state title favorite in Class 4A, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. State champs in two of the past four seasons, the T-Wolves are a team every coach knows will play a factor come playoff time.
Already this preseason, the T-Wolves earned an overtime victory over Skyline and a 1-1 draw with upstart Maple Mountain.
The T-Wolves are anchored defensively by returning first-team all-stater Rachelle Warner, as well as second-team goalkeeper Sydney Oldroyd and second-team striker Jordyn Chung-Hoon.
If Timpanogos is the slight favorite, then Skyline, Maple Mountain, Bountiful and Bonneville aren’t far behind.
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