LAYTON — The Davis Darts had a lot in front of them when they visited Layton High on Thursday afternoon.
It was the Lancers' final home game and Senior Day celebration; the Darts needed the win to secure the Region 1 championship and top seed for the upcoming state tournament; and it was a meeting between rivals.
The Darts took on the challenge, and returned home with a narrow 1-0 victory.
"The girls had to battle, it wasn't very pretty," Davis head coach Souli Phonsavath said afterward.
Layton (6-7-0 overall, 3-6-0 in Region 1) is fifth in the region standings, but took 5A's fourth-ranked Darts (12-1-1, 7-1-1) to overtime when they played the first time earlier in the season.
Phonsavath knew going in that the second go-around was going to be tough as well.
"We tried to stress to the girls the importance of this game, the importance of wrapping (the No. 1 seed) up today against a big rival," the coach said. "We tried to work on some things today — to stay wide, to work on getting dangerous, to work on our finishing."
Although the Darts didn't achieve the third point in that list, they did score enough to get the win. Layton held Davis scoreless until stoppage time at the end of the first half, which is when freshman Regyn Youngberg controlled the ball in the middle of the box and knocked it into the net.
Despite not scoring again, Phonsavath felt his entire team played stronger throughout the last 40 minutes of the game. Goalkeeper Sarah Beecher earned her fifth shutout.
"I think we played really well in the second half," he said. "Overall, I thought we dominated the game, the run of play, we just didn't finish very well. We had to grind it out, which is good because it helps prepare us for the playoffs."
Following the win, Phonsavath presented his team with the Region 1 trophy and congratulated them for winning a must-win game.
"These games where you have to get a result, they definitely prepare us because that's what the playoffs are," he added. "You have to get a result, you have to get a win, and it's not always going to be pretty — this was great preparation for that."
Amidst all the playoff talk, the Darts do have one regular season game remaining. It is a rematch with the only team that defeated them this season: Northridge. The Knights pulled off the 3-1 upset in mid-September.
"That game doesn't mean anything to us (in terms of standings)," Phonsavath said, "but we want to avenge that loss. We're at home, it's our Senior Night and it's going to be an emotional night for everybody. We want to end on a win and go into the playoffs on a high note."
With the top seed secured, Davis knows it will face the fourth-place team from Region 2 once the tournament does roll around. A win in the first round means the Darts could match up with either Alta or Brighton in the second round. Davis has lost in the playoffs to one of those two teams in each of the last eight seasons.
"We'll take whoever is in our draw," Phonsavath said when asked about that record. "If it just so happens it is Alta or Brighton, I wouldn't mind facing them because then it would mean we're in the semifinals or something big like that."
He then added, "We really haven't looked that far ahead. We knew we wanted to lock up the No. 1 seed and that would put us in a good position to get forward, and if we draw Alta or Brighton, that means we're doing well because they're two great programs."