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Sandy Journal

Alta makes state in tough soccer region

Nov 02, 2017 03:21PM ● By Ron Bevan

Junior Kyla White heads the ball to a teammate in recent Alta girls soccer action.

Alta knew this year would be a tough one for the girls soccer program. A realignment of boundaries and a change of region opponents meant each game was important, and losing any game could mean the Hawks wouldn’t make it to state.

“The realignment of school boundaries was meant to help the overcrowding going on at Corner Canyon,” Alta coach Lee Mitchell said. “It meant we lost some players from past seasons and gained some that had played for Jordan.”

But the biggest change came with moving Alta back into the ranks of 5A play. The Hawks once dominated girls soccer at the 5A ranks. Then came the opening of Corner Canyon and Alta lost enough students to be bumped down to 4A. Now back in 5A this season, Alta found itself in what was perhaps the toughest region in the entire state. 

Alta would be facing its fiercest rival of the past 20 years in Brighton. At one time the two teams seemed to trade off winning state titles. In addition to Brighton in the region, Alta rejoined cross-town rival Jordan as well as Corner Canyon, an improved program in the past few seasons.

“We knew we had to stay focused throughout the season,” Mitchell said. “We started out very well with the beginning of the year. Then we were able to overcome a few losses and win some games to make it to the playoffs.

Alta finished third in Region 3, thanks in part to an early season 2-1 victory over Brighton. Corner Canyon won the region, losing just twice all season.

“It was a tough region, and a good region,” Mitchell said. “There were some great soccer games spread out over all the teams. Corner Canyon has been getting better every year. I knew they would have a lot of talent this year and they used it very well.”

But Alta kept in the hunt with a solid defense, anchored by goalkeeper Sam Myers. The senior net minder recorded five shut-out games this year.

“She was tough all year,” Mitchell said of Myers. “I was extremely pleased with how she played in the goal.”

In front of Myers was the defensive duo of Addie Groves and Callie Fisher. Both defenders are seniors and have come up through the Alta program.

“They helped stop any pressure coming towards our goal,” Mitchell said. 

In addition to the defensive trio of seniors, the other seniors on the squad were Valerie Cazedessus, Morgan Lyman, Abbey Miller, Kaity Morton, Rachel Richards and Lauren Webb. Cazedessus was a striker who recorded three early season goals before a knee injury ended her season.

The offensive side of Alta’s game was led by a junior and a sophomore. Strikers Abby Davis, junior, and sophomore Megan Vawdrey recorded five goals each to lead the Hawks’ scoring attack, which saw 12 separate players find the back of the net for at least one goal.

Alta entered the state playoffs as the third-place team from Region 7. The Hawks faced Viewmont in the first round Oct. 10 and a 2-0 loss ended the season for Alta.

Although the loss of nine seniors means there will be a lot of open spots on next year’s team, Mitchell isn’t worried about the future.

“We will reload and be right back at it,” Mitchell said. “We should be okay next year, and maybe even a little bit better.”