Davis, Skyline, Logan and Millard will try to defend their state titles in the 2016 girls soccer season.
Going undefeated and winning a state title is something that most high school girls soccer programs can only dream of. For the 2015 Davis Darts, it was a reality. Last year, the Darts went 16-0-0 in the regular season, then kept winning throughout the postseason, culminating in a 1-0 win over Weber to finish off their perfect season and claim their second straight 5A girls soccer championship.
Davis also found itself on top of the USA Today Super Expert 25 rankings as the best team in the country. In 2016, the Darts are hungry for a three-peat. Head coach Souli Phongsavath returns top goal scorers Olivia Wade (32 goals in 2015) and Mikayla Colohan for the 2016 season, so the Darts will again be loaded with talent. In fact, five Davis players on the 2016 team have committed to play for Division I schools in college — Colohan and Wade (BYU), Ellie Robinson (SUU), Hailee Atwater (UVU), and Kendyl Baker (Loyola Marymount).
Davis did lose Deseret News’ Ms. Soccer, Haylee Cacciacarne, and 5A MVP Ireland Dunn, but the Darts return two all-state first teamers (Wade, Colohan) and one all-state second teamer (Baker). Davis is ranked No. 1 in the nation in topdrawersoccer.com’s Fall Fab 50 preseason rankings. With the star power and returning experience Davis brings, it is the favorite to win the title and complete a 5A title three-peat.
“We hope to compete in every game, win region, and then compete for a state championship,” Phongsavath said.
How is a school in Kaysville, Utah — not exactly a soccer hotbed — No. 1 in the nation?
“I think it’s a special group of girls we’ve had the past several years,” Phongsavath said. “It’s a great community to work in and a great environment, kids that work hard and have a positive attitude, so that’s easy for me to coach.”
Challenging Davis for the 2016 5A state trophy will be Lone Peak and Weber. Lone Peak brings back all-staters Cameron Tucker, Brenna Gurney and Siri Dahl. In 2015, Tucker scored 21 goals and TJ McKendrick had 10, giving the Knights a dangerous attacking duo. The Weber Warriors are also making a strong case to challenge the Darts. As of Monday, Weber is 4-0-0, led by Mylee Broad, Ellie Maughan and Cassidy Mccormick, who all have two goals apiece.
After losing in the state championship game in 2013 and 2014, the Skyline Eagles broke through last year, winning the 4A state title game 3-1 over Timpanogos, denying the Timberwolves a 4A championship three-peat.
“We tried for four years to be the No. 1 team. For three years, we fell short, we took second place. Finally, last year, we took first place. We lost some key players, but the players in the program are eager and hungry to experience that good feeling of being the best in the state,” Skyline head coach Yamil Castillo said.
The Eagles graduated the dynamic duo of Emma Heyn and Holly Daugirda, who combined to score 53 goals last year, but stepping into their place are Cassidy Orr and Maddie Vorkink. In three games for Skyline this year, Orr has six goals and Vorkink has chipped in four.
But the Eagles have a lot of good teams to play before they can start thinking about repeating as champs.
“We do know there is a lot of good competition, there’s a lot of good programs in the valley. It’s just going to force us to work harder to get back to Rio Tinto [Stadium, home of the 4A championship,]” Castillo said.
Some of that good competition comes in the form of Woods Cross, East and Timpanogos.
Wood Cross is currently 5-0-0, outscoring its opponents 23-3 in its first five games. Leading the offensive charge is junior Sara Noel, who has nine goals in 2016, and Camryn Henson, who has contributed five goals in as many games. East, who fell to Timpanogos in the quarterfinals last year, has started off the season strong.
The Leopards are undefeated, and the play of Jill Bennett, Sami Black and goalkeepers Katie Liljenquist and Sarah Nelson make East a team to watch this year.
Timpanogos has struggled out of the gates, going 1-3-0 in its first four matches. This string of results is reminiscent of last season, when the Timberwolves finished their first four games without a win, but got hot late. Hallie Fernandez and Samantha Brady have scored all of Timpanogos’ goals in 2016, with four and three, respectively.
In Logan High School girls’ soccer coach Sven Rasmussen’s debut season last year, the Grizzlies won their first state title in school history. In 2016, the Grizzlies will be looking to replicate that success.
“I feel like we lost a little bit with the seniors moving on, however, we have some quality players willing to step up and take care of business this year,” Rasmussen said. “I expect us to be pretty good, I expect first or second in region, and then I expect no less than quarterfinals.”
Logan graduated Veronica Sullivan (17 goals in 2015) and defender Aspen Tremayne, but it returns key personnel for another championship run. 2015 Deseret News 3A MVP Demi Lopez, who scored 19 goals and had 10 assists last season, is back for her senior season, and Kennedy Michel, who has two goals on the season and six goals in 2015, returns to shore up the Grizzlies midfield. Goalkeeper Abby Craig, who had four shutouts last year for Logan, is also back for more in 2016.
What will it take for Logan to repeat as 3A girls soccer state champions?
“A lot of hard work, a little bit of luck,” Rasmussen said. “We’re going to have to beat some quality teams, so just showing up and make sure that we take care of business, the little details that end up winning the matches, we just got to be sure that we do those little things right all the time, and see how it goes, but I like our chances to go far again.”
Dixie, Juan Diego and Desert Hills are prime contenders to stand in Logan’s way of a repeat. Dixie is currently 3-0-0, outscoring its opponents in the first three games 20-1. Starlee Woodbury leads the Flyers this season with six goals, and Kennedy Warnick has five. Goalkeeper Marshawn Eskridge has two shutouts so far in 2016.
Leading Juan Diego, which graduated First Team all-staters Ashley Buck and Claire Kolff, are Daviana Vaka and Heaven Kelley. Vaka has scored five goals in five games for the Soaring Eagle, and Kelly has contributed two.
Desert Hills is currently 2-1-1 in 2016, led by the duo of Brecken Dalley and Makayla Lewis, who both have two goals in 2016. All-stater Brooklyn Lott, who had 17 goals last year, returns for her senior season, along with goalkeeper Brittney Moore, defender Brenna Owen and midfielder Kenzie Done.
After winning only two of its first six games last year, Millard went on a tear, winning the next 11 games en route to claiming the 2A championship. Right now the Eagles are 0-1-0, but it’s still very early in the season, and head coach Dale Josse thinks his team will be contending for a championship by the home stretch.
“I think we’ll do well. It’s obviously early and we’re still trying to find our niche and get settled in, but I think by the time the season gets going we’ll be ready to go and be very competitive,” Josse said.
Millard graduated Anna Camp, the 2015 Deseret News 2A MVP, but still has plenty of good players returning in 2016. Goalkeeper McKenna Rowell, who had 10 shutouts in 2015, will be key as a senior, and Danielle Whitaker will lead the Eagle defense. Natalie Wall also returns for her senior season as a forward.
Manti, Parowan and Waterford are all favorites to compete for a 2A title this season. Manti graduated four seniors who made the Deseret News All-State team, but All-State forward Jamie Bawden and midfelder Meg Larson will encourage teammates to step up and fill the void this year.
Parowan, currently 4-0-0, is led by Autumn Rogerson, who has 10 goals in four games for the Rams. Aubrey Pickett has also scored four times in 2016. Taylor Robb, Deseret News 2A all-stater, has one goal so far in her senior season.
Waterford is 2-0-0 as of Monday, with a combined 13-0 score line in those two games. The Ravens have a dangerous duo up front, with all-staters Makenna Mumford and Natalie Wall. Goalkeepers Jamie Francis (one shutout), Lexie Shreeve (0.5 shutout), and Lilli Weir (0.5 shutout), have combined for two clean sheets this year.