Alta Soccer Focuses on the Next Team as a Team
Oct 04, 2016 03:52PM
● By Billy Swartzfager
Alta team huddled up getting ready for an opponent. (Michelle Porter/Resident)
Alta Soccer Focuses on the Next Team as a Team [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]
The girls soccer team at Alta High School has been fantastic through the first half of the 2016 season. The Hawks have lost only one game, their first of the season, against Weber on Aug. 10 in a grueling 2-1 battle. After that game, Alta won the next nine games they played, shutting seven of those opponents down without letting them score a goal. Alta is looking like tough competition for any team they face.
The Hawks finished tied for first place in region seven in 2015 and played well in the state tournament, reaching the quarterfinals, where they were beaten by Wasatch 1-0. There were highlights from 2015 that have carried over to 2016 though, which have Alta moving in an incredible direction thus far. Sophomore Brecken Mozingo, who was an honorable mention for all-state last season, is leading the team and the state in scoring this season. As of Sept. 18, Brecken had scored 29 goals, including a ridiculous six-goal outburst against region adversary Skyridge on Aug. 30.
“Brecken is tearing it up; she has done an amazing job,” Alta head coach Lee Mitchell said. “We like to play team ball and she fits in perfectly,” he added.
The Hawks are a well-rounded group of players and the team is a mixed bunch as far as upper and lower classmen. There are only four returning seniors for 2016, one of whom is Sadie Mertlich, who had scored five goals of her own prior to going down for a couple of weeks with a knee injury. Sadie led Alta in scoring when she was a sophomore, but missed her entire junior year due to injury as well. Her latest injury was only a sprain and the team is hoping for a safe and productive return, as she is a leader on and off the field.
In addition to Sadie and Brecken, the Hawks have junior goal keeper Sam Myers, who has held opponents scoreless an amazing seven times so far in 2016. Kat Adlard and Lizzy Porter are also heavy contributors to the Hawks’ success this season and are leading the way toward achieving goals the team has set for themselves.
“We want to win region and contend for a state title,” Mitchell said, who has been coaching soccer at Alta for many seasons.
Winning titles isn’t the only thing Alta is focused on, though. The team wants to constantly show improvement by working hard every day and recognizing that the season and the opponents faced only increase in difficulty as time passes. Mitchell compared the season to climbing a mountain.
“You have to start at the bottom. Toward the end of the climb, the terrain only gets steeper and a lot harder,” he said.
The team also tries to stay focused on the task at hand, the closest game in their future, believing that in doing so, the team won’t get ahead of the present by thinking too much about something they haven’t earned yet. Mitchell wants them to take care of business first, then move on to the next opponent.
“You can’t put the cart before the horse,” Mitchell said, “Or you’ll never get where you want to go.”
“The next game is always the most important for us,” he added.
So far, Mitchell is extremely proud of his team, and he has every reason to be. The team is 10-1 heading into the last part of a competitive season, fighting one match at a time toward a region seven title and a likely run toward a state championship. He feels his team has come together and the players are approaching their games the right way — as a group, a team, a unit, that, when standing together, can beat anyone they face.
“We don’t care who scores or who gets the credit; we simply want the team to do well,” Mitchell said.