Alta soccer makes state playoffs, keeps streak alive
Nov 07, 2018 12:26PM
● By Jana Klopsch
By Ron Bevan | [email protected]
In a year that could have been disastrous, the Alta girls soccer team found a way to continue with its streak of always making the state tournament.
Alta entered the state tournament matched up with Region 6 champion Murray. The Hawks managed to take a 1-1 tie with the Spartans through regulation and two overtime periods. Murray moved on in the tournament by outscoring Alta in a shootout.
Alta came into the season unsure of what the season might bring. The Hawks graduated eight starters from last year’s team, and also lost Lee Mitchell, the only soccer coach in Alta’s history. Mitchell decided to retire after the spring boys season.
But the loss of Mitchell didn’t mean an end to the style and aggressiveness that has epitomized Alta soccer over the last three decades. Alta didn’t look far to replace Mitchell, handing the reins of both the girls and boys programs to Mackenzie Hyer, an assistant for Mitchell for the past 17 seasons.
“I told the parents and the girls coming in that I wasn’t planning on changing anything, from the way we practice to the way we play,” Hyer said. “I am a former player for Mitchell and my brother and sister also played at Alta. It was more of a shift, not necessarily a whole change with a new coach. My goal is to not change the program, but perhaps to adjust things here and there to make it mine. All of the coaches on our team have played for Alta. We know what it means to be a Hawk.”
With Hyer’s leadership, Alta took on what is perhaps one of the most dangerous regions in Utah. As such, wins were hard to come by this season and the Hawks finished fourth in Region 7. Timpview took home top region honors, followed by Corner Canyon and Brighton.
Alta’s scoring attack this season centered around two players, Kyla White and Leah Lowery. White, a senior midfielder, used her experience to find the back of the net seven times this season. Lowery, a feisty sophomore with lightning quick reflexes, was right behind with six goals.
“White played a lot of minutes as a junior last season,” Hyer said. “She came into this year ready to be one of our leaders.”
But the Hawks have always been known as a complete team, never relying on just a couple of players. In all, 13 different players put the ball into the net this year.
Alta also looked to a young player to keep the defense solid. Reagan Reynolds manned the net as goalkeeper this year, and tallied five shutout games.
“We were asking big things from a freshman to jump into the goal in a varsity game,” Hyer said. “Reynolds stepped up to the challenge. She is tall, probably the tallest goalkeeper we have had in years. She reads the game well and has great hands.”