SANDY — Only a couple years removed from successfully lobbying to move into 3A for the sake of its soccer teams, Waterford finds itself on the verge of being returned to 2A once again.

UHSAA's latest realignment, which takes effect in 2009, will move the Ravens back to Region 14. It will help other sports, but the girls soccer team feels such a change is not beneficial.

The Ravens are hoping a successful 3A title push might change a few minds about sending them packing.

"We definitely want to prove ourselves and (show) we belong in 3A by the end of the season," senior midfielder Kimi Miyashima said. "We were already in 2A and the competition wasn't quite there for us."

When they last competed in 2A in 2006, Waterford won its playoff games by a combined score of 25-0 to claim the classification's initial state title. And this season, many of the Ravens' opponents have looked just as outclassed as the teams they faced from two years ago.

Waterford has plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball to hold its own against any team. Miyashima, fellow senior Lanie Ward and Taylor Ritzman are averaging nearly three goals per game between them. On defense, senior sweeper Katie Crosland and goalkeeper Jeannie Woller anchor a unit that has allowed only seven goals in its first five games.

"Even though we have one of the smallest teams, we have one of the most talented teams this year as well," Waterford coach Tim Dolbin said

If it is to be Waterford's swan song in 3A, the timing might be right to claim a state title. Crosland thinks this might be Waterford's best team in her four years.

"We have really good chemistry this year and we have a lot of really skilled new players," Crosland said. "I think we're coming together really well."

Surviving Region 10 might be a tougher task than winning a state title. The region is loaded from top to bottom as usual.

Park City looks like a state title favorite with Parade All-American Lindsi Lisonbee back to anchor its defense at sweeper. The Miners gave Alta its toughest game of the preseason and appear on target to rebound from a rough outing a year ago.

Judge Memorial and Wasatch have to be considered factors as well.

The Bulldogs are defending 3A champions and return several stars from last year's Cinderella run — led by Maddie Cartwright, Sadie Young and Natalie Warner. And the Wasps return a pair of their top scorers — Kim Parker and Aubri Salazar — from their '07 semifinalist team.

But not all of the state title contenders call Region 10 home.

Canyon View could run away from Region 9 rivals and everyone else, based on how explosive its offense has been early. Three of 3A's top five scorers wear Falcon uniforms — led by Amanda Allen and her astounding 15 goals.

Juan Diego finished as the 3A runner-up a year ago and the Soaring Eagle look as formidable as ever. Several stars from last season — including Jennifer Flynn, Shalyn Roberts and Anna Jung — are back for more.


E-mail: jcoon@desnews.com