BOUNTIFUL Viewmont ended the 2007 girls soccer season in the same manner it started with a forgettable loss to Alta.
But those defeats can't paint an accurate picture of how much the Vikings accomplished this fall. Viewmont did not start out as a favorite in Region 1, but the Vikings soon established themselves as a team to beat.
The Vikings piled up six straight wins to open region play. Included in that stretch was a 4-0 upset victory over preseason favorite Davis the only loss which the Darts suffered at the hands of a region opponent.
Viewmont finished in a second-place tie with Weber.
"I thought they did well and worked hard as a team," said Vikings coach Eric Landon. "At the end of the day, we did what we were supposed to do."
Indeed, the only moment not really living up to expectations was that final playoff loss to the Hawks. Viewmont did not expect to beat the defending 5A champions. But it had hoped to put up more of a challenge in the quarterfinal round.
Alta striker Ashley Jones interfered with those plans, punishing the Viking defense for a season-high four goals in the Hawks 6-1 victory.
As far as worst-case scenarios go, the way that game developed was about as ugly as it could have turned out.
"They pretty much dropped the hammer on us in the playoffs," Landon said.
One thing experiencing a season-ending blowout loss has done is motivate the team to push itself even harder over the offseason, so it can be competitive with a high-caliber program like Alta. Facing a little adversity, Landon said, has made the Vikings mentally tougher than they were before.
With a host of experienced players expected back for another year, the Vikings should have no trouble quickly emerging as a Region 1 title contender again.
Leading scorer Erica Randall returns to lead the offense. Fellow juniors Caitlin Cook and Jamee Dyches are back to give additional depth and experience at the forward position.
On defense, Carlan Samuelson and Jessica Madsen earned valuable varsity experience in the backfield and will be counted on to help anchor that unit. Chelsea Wallis, a starter in the midfield, is only a sophomore.
Viewmont must break in a replacement for Charly Booth at goalkeeper. Such a transition won't be a big deal as it might seem on paper. Carly Hutchings showed plenty of promise during her sophomore season.
Hutchings saw limited minutes behind Booth, who transferred to Viewmont before the season. But in the games where Hutchings saw major minutes, she looked impressive even netting a shutout over Syracuse."I have all the confidence in the world," Landon said. "I can see her coming in next year in that position and not missing any strides at all."