ST. GEORGE — The Crimson Cliffs High School girls soccer team finished its Region 10 schedule as undefeated champs, and the Mustangs hope that translates into success during the 4A state championship tournament that starts this week.
The Mustangs beat Cedar 3-1 at home Oct. 5, completing a perfect 12-0 Region 10 record and finishing 15-2 overall in the regular season.
“Our last game happened to be our Senior Night where we honored all 11 of our amazing seniors,” Crimson Cliffs coach Kat Esplin told St. George News. “It was probably the best night of our season. We played beautiful soccer and had a lot of fun together as a Crimson family.”
Seniors Jantzyn Losee and Belle Meadows scored in the game and junior Kenzie Palmer also netted a goal for Crimson Cliffs in the win.
Palmer and seniors Kate Young and Alexandra Blanchard recorded assists.
Esplin said that the team captains decided before the season started that winning the region title was one of their goals.
“Once we got into the season a couple of games we realized we could even take it farther and go undefeated,” Esplin added. “Every region team gave us a battle. The pressure was on us and we didn’t play perfect every game, but the girls came together game after game to make it happen.”
Crimson Cliffs earned the No. 1 seed in the state tournament because it had the best RPI (ratings percentage index) in 4A. The Mustangs earned a bye in the first round, along with No. 2 seed Mountain Crest and No. 3 seed Ridgeline.
“The earned bye is huge. We can recover our minds and bodies and be ready for a tough and grueling quarterfinal game,” Esplin said.
The Mustangs know that both those teams from Region 11 are going to be tough.
“Mountain Crest has been battling us all season for that top spot. They have been scoring a lot of goals and winning almost all their games,” Esplin said. “Ridgeline are the defending champions. I think both teams will be fighting hard to take home the championship and we have to be ready.”
Crimson Cliffs will play the winner of a first-round matchup between Logan and Pine View. Since they’re the top seed, the Mustangs will get that game at home.
“Home games are always a benefit. We have a beautiful stadium field and the best parents and fan support,” Esplin said. “Any advantage in these situations can be the difference between a win or a loss.”
The Mustangs play that quarterfinal game Saturday at 1 p.m.
“Our goal is to win state. We have a lot of talent and know it is there for the taking,” Esplin said. “We need to be willing to stay mentally focused and stay positive. If we do that then we will walk away proud no matter what happens. This is a really special group.”
As for other Region 10 teams, Dixie beat Desert Hills 2-0 Oct. 5 to complete its regular season. The Flyers finished third in the region at 7-5 and were 9-8 overall.
“Our defense played a solid game against Desert Hills, and I was really happy with the amount of opportunities that our team created,” Flyers coach Crystal Soderquist said.
Soderquist said she is really proud Dixie finished third in a tough region.
“They keep learning and getting better with every game and I’m proud of their efforts and hard work,” she added. “I know it has and will continue to pay off for them.”
Dixie earned the sixth seed in the state tournament and will host Cedar in the opening round Wednesday at 4 p.m.
“We have traveled for every first round playoff game for the last three years and sometimes have had to make multiple trips up north,” Soderquist said. “This is exciting to earn a home playoff game and have our fans and the students here to support these ladies – they earned it.”
Dixie beat Cedar in both region matchups this year, winning 4-1 and 2-1.
“It’s nice to have an idea about who you are playing and what to expect from them,” Soderquist said, “but in playoffs anything can happen so we need to make sure we prepare and are ready each and every game no matter who we face.”
The Flyers expect preparation and focus to pay off in the state tournament.
“These ladies have worked hard all season and we expect that hard work and dedication to continue,” Soderquist said. “We will take each game as it comes to us and play our very best. Ultimately, we are here to win a championship and we will prepare with that as our goal.”
Snow Canyon finished second in the Region 10 standings after the Warriors (8-4 region, 8-7 overall) beat Hurricane 3-1 on Oct. 5.
4A State Championship soccer tournament
No. 1 Crimson Cliffs, No. 2 Mountain Crest, No. 3 Ridgeline- byes, host quarterfinal games Oct. 16
Opening round, Wednesday at 4 p.m.
No. 9 Pine View at No. 8 Logan
No. 13 Hurricane at No. 4 Sky View
No. 12 Bear River at No. 5 Green Canyon
No. 10 Desert Hills at No. 7 Snow Canyon
No. 11 Cedar at No. 6 Dixie
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