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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News
Brighton senior goalkeeper McKinzie Olson displayed the kind of toughness in the net that helped her earn Deseret Morning News 2007 Ms. Soccer honors.

With just minutes to play and Brighton clinging to a one-goal lead, one of the state's most prolific scorers, Davis' Colette Jepson, broke through the defense and raced toward the net. Bengals goalkeeper McKinzie Olson charged with a vengeance — even though she was playing with a nose that was broken and had a gash that would require stitches later that night, the result of a kick to the face earlier in the game.

Jepson shot the ball high and to the the keeper's left, but Olson's catlike reflexes deflected the ball wide, and Brighton held on for the win.

It was this play, and many others equal to it, that made Olson the Deseret Morning News' Ms. Soccer for the 2007 season. The senior goalkeeper was the best overall player and made the Bengals one of the top teams in the state.

"You know what you are going to get every game with McKinzie," said Brighton coach Amber Johnson. "It didn't matter what year she was, she played like she was older. She always made the saves that kept us in the game. You think you know what kind of saves she is going to make, and then she goes out and does something even more amazing to surprise you."

Olson was the 5A MVP as a sophomore, when her performance in the net helped lead Brighton to a state championship. The Bengals lost in the semifinals this season, but Olson's performance against Davis in the quarterfinals was a big reason why they advanced that far. Brighton was also the only team in the state to beat eventual 5A champion Alta.

"Those were two of my favorite highlights of the season," said Olson of the two victories. "It was great to beat Alta on their home field 3-0 like that. That was probably the best game we played overall as a team, so it was probably my favorite, and the atmosphere and intensity at Davis was incredible. To pull out that game was an amazing feeling."

Besides being the best high school goalkeeper in the state, Olson also represents Utah and the Western Region in the Olympic Development Program. After a fairly fierce recruiting battle, she will be taking her skills next season to BYU.

"I had my choices narrowed down to USC, Pepperdine and BYU," Olson said. "After visiting all three, I just felt in my gut that BYU was the place for me. From the girls to the coaching staff and their goalkeeper situation for me, it was just the best fit. I am excited now to go down there and just try my best to show that I deserve to be there."

Olson continues to hone her skills. She has played basketball for the Bengals as well but has decided to skip the hardwood this season so she can focus on soccer — her first love.

"I am very competitive and it is a good outlet for me," Olson said of her sport. "I love the adrenaline rush it brings. To be back in the net and to make a great save and just see the other team hang their heads, it is a great feeling. I love being part of a team and hanging out with the girls, getting to bond."

Whether it is her hard work, her love of the game, the incredible physical talents that she possesses or probably a combination of them all, Olson distanced herself from the rest of the competition and truly stood out during the 2007 high school season.

Ms. Soccer

Name: McKinzie Olson

School: Brighton

Class: Senior

Of note: A four-year starter with 24 career shutouts ... Named 2005 Deseret Morning News 5A MVP as a sophomore ... Committed to play at BYU.

E-mail: mblack@desnews.com