ST. GEORGE – High school girls soccer begins today with Dixie, Desert Hills, Pine View and Snow Canyon all in action.
Soccer is first and foremost a game of endurance. Unlike basketball and football, which rely on intense strategy to get the job done, soccer requires unique tactics, but the rewards are few and far between.
Last year the rewards went to Cedar High School’s girls squad, which plowed its way to the 3A State Finals, but lost the big prize to Ogden. As such, all of Region 9 has their sights set on dethroning the Reds – including Snow Canyon.
“We definitely want revenge (against Cedar),” said SC’s Callie Stewart.
Last season, Cedar and Snow Canyon were neck and neck when the two clashed at season’s end in a fantastic duel that ended in a scoreless draw. The Warriors entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed behind the Reds and ultimately lost in the 3A quarterfinals.
“We lost when we tied with Cedar last year,” Sarah Henderson said. “I’m really excited to get back at them. We’ve worked hard this offseason. This is our year. We have a lot of seniors and so our theme is ‘Finish what we started.’ I’m really excited to do just that. State’s always been on our mind. That’s our goal.”
Henderson and her teammates aren’t about to make any bold predictions, however. They understand the tumultuous road lying ahead.
“There’s definitely a lot of teams out there that we have to look out for,” said Stewart. “We’re going to try and focus on them one at a time.”
“Our region is probably the best in state, especially in 3A classification,” said coach Kenny Kunde. “Of all four teams that we sent to State last season, I felt all of them had a chance to get to the finals – which Cedar did. So you’ve got a defending region champion and state finalist in Cedar and some pretty good teams behind them. I think they’ll be competitive and so will Dixie.”
Kunde expects Cedar’s goalkeeper Tara Shipp to be just as formidable this season as she was last year, but felt the rest of the region has a lot to offer in terms of competition.
“Dixie has some returning players that are pretty good,” he said. “But a lot of schools lost a lot of players, so I’m not sure how they’re going to pan out. We’ve looked at film and rosters, but it comes down to how coaches work with who they have.”
Other schools to look out for include Desert Hills and the always formidable Pine View.
Dixie coach Burt Myers said the key is to be playing well late in the year.
“You’ve got to finish strong,” he said. “Having a home game in the playoffs is so huge, too. But it’s going to be hard to get into the top two in region with Cedar and Snow Canyon there. That’s the goal.”
Dixie opens tonight at home against Springville. Other region teams in action include Pine View at Maple Mountain, Desert Hills at Herriman and Snow Canyon, which stays home to play Copper Hills.
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