Region 9 girls soccer play begins tonight with one advance game — Hurricane at Dixie — and the rest of the region beginning league play next Tuesday.
Obviously, hopes are high for all the teams, with Desert Hills and Cedar returning key players from teams that finished first and second a year ago. Dixie has a slew of returnees as well and Snow Canyon, which finished third last season, should also factor in a tight region race. Here’s a glance at each team:
Coach Benji Nelson of Desert Hills is optimistic, but realistic heading into league play.
Among those returning is Brooklyn Lott, who scored 17 goals last year, as well as midfielders Brecklyn Dalley and Drew Morby. Defender Brenna Owen and goalkeeper Brittany Moore are also back for the Thunder, who went 7-2-1 in region last season.
Beyond that, Nelson said little about his team. He figures it’s his opponents’ job to learn about the Thunder.
“As always, I am sure Region 9 will be very competitive,” Nelson said. “All of our programs are being introduced to more and more talent with the younger players coming into our programs.”
First Region 9 game: Tuesday, Sept. 6 at Hurricane
Key returning starters for the Lady Reds, who last year were second in Region 9 and at state (7-3, 14-6) are seniors Holly Carpenter, (forward) Chloe Little (outside-back) and junior Tasha Kamachi (offensive mid). All three played and started on the 2014 state championship team.
“In addition to Holly Carpenter, we will be returning Ashley Jenkins, Rachel Hunt and Julia Hunt, who all have extensive varsity experience,” Kamachi said. “Lauren Craft also hopes to see time at the forward position.
“The midfield will be crowded with Tasha Kamachi returning and being joined by seniors Lindsey Robinson, Emma Christiansen, Kassie Johnson, junior Kaitlyn Rowley and sophomore Callie Kucifer.
“I don’t see there being a huge difference between our first place team and our last place team. Every night will be a battle and every battle could have playoff implications; there are no easy teams,” Kamachi said.
First Region 9 game: Tuesday, Sept. 6 at Dixie
Dixie has returning people at every position, notes coach Burt Myers.
Starlee Woodbury is healthy this year and has had a great preseason. Liz Durrant is playing well and so is Sabra Sparks. Ashly Smith is a three-year starter amd Bekah Pasley is coming back from injury.
Goalkeeper Mashaun Estridge is ready for another solid campaign.
Last year the Flyers finished fifth in the Region 9 race at 3-6-1, 5-8-1. Dixie’s last state title was in 2013.
First Region 9 game: Tonight, vs. Hurricane
Coach Luke Stevens and the Tigers are looking forward to improving on last year’s 0-10, 4-11-1 mark.
Hurricane’s top players include forward Abby Hall, midfielder Kylee Stevens, winger Kenzie Beardall, midfielder Shanel Stevens, centerback Becca Snodgress and keeper Madison Branch.
First Region 9 game: Tonight, at Dixie
Last year’s Warriors finished 6-2-2 in region and 9-6-4 overall, just two points out of first place. The Warriors have a number of returning seniors, including all-state midfielder Serena Lindsey and defenders Jaquel Bozarth and Morgan Atkinson. Other midfielders include Ellie Christiansen and Christian van Gils.
“We’re looking to build on last year’s success and make a run at the region and state titles,” said coach Kenny Kunde.
First Region 9 game: Tuesday, Sept. 6 vs. Pine View
With just two seniors, Pine View is in a reloading mode. The Panthers, 4-4-2 and 8-5-4 overall a year ago, had just one win in the preseason.
Players to watch, according to coach Kenzie Hawes, include midfielder McKenna Plumb, forward Shaneice Lourenco and defenders Eliza Stirling and Kambria Johnson. Plumb, Lourenco, Erin Callahan and Aubrey Day were the top goal-scorers in the preseason.
“I expect my girls to continue to grow as a team and build our team chemistry on and off the field.,” said Hawes. “ I want these girls to enjoy soccer and enjoy getting better as players. “
First Region 9 game: Tuesday, Sept. 6 at Snow Canyon
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