ST. GEORGE — For high school soccer fans, the 2012 season is getting tantalizingly close.
Last season, Region 9 crowned a state champion in boys soccer (Dixie) and sent a girls team to the championship game when Cedar dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Ogden.
Led by star goalkeeper Tara Shipp, Cedar will once again be a state contender as the girls season gets set to begin. Most teams start preseason action Aug. 9. Cedar should be a top Region 9 team as well, though Snow Canyon, which finished just a half-game behind Cedar last season, will be right there.
“Those two should be right at the top,” Dixie coach Burt Myers said. “But there are a lot of teams that will be right behind them. Pine View has got a tough team and I think we’ll be fighting for the top as well.”
Myers listed a handful of players he said would be stars this year.
“Tara Shipp is an excellent goalkeeper,” he said. “She’s also an excellent basketball player, but I think some college scouts will really be interested in her going to the next level. Sarah Henderson at Snow Canyon is a very good player. We have a couple of great players as well.”
A couple of former stars, the “McArthur girls,” have produced a couple of current stars for the Lady Flyers. Britton Leavitt and Elle Roberts will lead the Flyers, along with rising star Alexa Bernabe and young keeper Kelsey McCann.
Myers also said Erica Hansen of Desert Hills and Taylor Wade of Pine View will be players to watch this season.
Last season, Cedar scored 27 points (an 8-1-3 record), edging out Snow Canyon by one point. Pine View was just four points back with a 7-3-2 record and Dixie made the playoffs with 18 points and a 5-4-3.
“It’s so important to get that first playoff game at home,” Myers said. “You’ve got to finish in the top two in region and that won’t be easy with Cedar and Snow Canyon up there.”