High school girls soccer: MVPs contributed to championship runs in tangible and intangible ways
She and the Timpanogos defenses totaled 33 shutouts, including eight this season alone. In 2013, the Timberwolves lost once, tied once and gave up just 12 goals all year.
"She has meant a great deal to us on the field," Lewis said.
Throughout her four years at Timpanogos, the goalkeeper has expanded her abilities in the net by improving her skills outside of it. Lewis used her on the field in practice in an effort to help her feel more comfortable coming off the line.
"She forced herself to be uncomfortable until it became comfortable," Lewis said. "It has really come to benefit her. Syd is a talented player on the field; she has done an incredible job there, too."
3A: Hadli Gledhill, Dixie
One day during the 2013 regular season, Gledhill stopped on her way to the Flyers' 5:45 a.m. practice to pick up a teammate who lived nearby. When she got to the house, it became clear her teammate was not yet awake and was going to be late.
Instead of leaving, Gledhill opted to wait — to help her teammate — and they arrived late to practice together.
"She knew there was a penalty for being late, that she could have missed starting in the game the next day," said Dixie coach Burt Myers. "Still, she chose to make sure her teammate would get there. She knew it was for the betterment of the team — and that is what was important to her."
Just as she did that day, Gledhill always put the needs of the team first.
"She is very conscientious and loyal to her teammates," Myers said.
Gledhill, a senior on the state champion Flyers, was also a talented defender. Her coach said her ability to play end line to end line throughout the game as well as cross the ball with acute accuracy made her an invaluable cog on the Dixie team.
"No matter where she is on the field," Myers said, "she always knows where the ball needs to be and knows where other players are. She is just a smart player."
Strong and speedy with a high soccer IQ, Myers added that Gledhill was an important part of what made the back line tick.
"She was the general on the field, our quarterback back there," he said, noting that the defense allowed just 15 goals all season and only five during Region 9 play.
"And she is not afraid of learning," Myers said. "She asks questions until she understands."
Dixie has improved each year during Gledhill's tenure, from not making the playoffs her freshman year to reaching the first round, quarterfinals, and then winning the title this season. Much of the improvement can be traced back to Gledhill and the positive impact she has had on those around her.
"She is great in the community. She is great in school. She is just very likeable," Myers said. "She just has those abilities of a great leader and she has worked her talents in her favor."
2A: Morgan Fox, Summit Academy
In just two varsity seasons, the Summit Academy soccer team has gone from nonexistent to 2A state champions. And Fox, a senior defender, has been there every step of the way.
"Morgan has been a huge asset to our team," said head coach Kyrstin Wingert. "She is so passionate about soccer. Her work ethic is inspiring. She came to practice each day as if it was her last practice. Plus she is both academically and athletically brilliant."
Away from the field, Fox is a well-rounded student-athlete. She participates in debate and earned a position on the UHSAA Deseret News Academic All-State Team.
On the field, she became a crucial leader to a young team that, after placing fourth in region play, rode its peak through the state tournament for a five-match winning streak and the state title.
"She is a natural leader. The girls automatically go to her," Wingert said. "She directs the back line and the girls respond."
Fox scored eight goals for the Bears — four during each season — but it was her foresight on that back line that made the biggest difference.
"She is one of the most composed players I have seen," Wingert said. "She is an intelligent player and she anticipates well. She sees everything beforehand."
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.
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