Jordan girls soccer off and running against new competitionSep 11, 2023 12:21PM ● By Josh McFadden
It’s a new season in a new-look league for the Jordan girls soccer team. So far, the Beetdiggers are more than holding their own.
Jordan has moved down to Region 10 in Class 4A after having played in 5A previously. Last season, the Beetdiggers went 3-13 overall and 1-11 in league play. After seven games this season, Jordan had already won four contests. It also was 1-2 after three region matches as of Aug. 21.
The move to 4A seems to have been a positive one. Head coach Justin Jahnke believes the experience against talented 5A teams prepared this group for the 2023 campaign.
“I’m really excited to see what our girls can do in a new region,” he said at the beginning of the season. “It was such a great test playing against the likes of Lehi and Alta (as well as the rest of that region) for the last two years, that I feel like the girls are already battle-tested. I’m also excited to see what our seniors can do. This group has been together for a while, so I want to see some chemistry right away.”
Region 10 spans a big geographic area and teams that Jordan hasn’t seen much of over the years. The league consists of opponents Murray, Stansbury, Tooele, Park City, Hillcrest and Cottonwood.
The region is different but still not a cakewalk for Jordan.
“Dropping to 4A does not mean the competition is any easier,” Jahnke said. “Murray, Park City and Stansbury are all very good teams, and I feel like every game in the region will be competitive with the likes of Hillcrest, Cottonwood and Tooele. Then for playoffs you look outside the region we have old foes like Mountain View, Timpanogos and Timpview, who are all great programs, not to mention the Northern 4A and St. George 4A teams. It’s highly competitive and exciting.”
Leading the team is senior striker Kenzie Colunga, a player Jahnke said has consistently improved over the past few years. June Joseph is the team’s goalkeeper. Just a freshman, she has posted four shutouts so far. Senior midfielder Graycie Griffiths is a great distributor and helps to control the pace of the game. Meanwhile, Julia Willham, a junior, is a “Swiss army knife,” as Jahnke describes. He said she “can play up top, in the middle or the backline—it’s great to have that kind of versatility in the lineup.” Senior midfielder Susi Luna Rico is a good playmaker and helps with the Beetdiggers’ attack.
Through the first seven games, Colunga paced the team with six goals and three assists. Samantha Mayo-Gonzalez had three goals during that span.
Jahnke is pleased with how his team has played and come together so far. It started in the summer during preseason workouts and has continued in the early part of the season.
“I feel like the girls are well connected already,” he said. “We spent all summer together, to the point where we all felt we had no summer. It helped us seeing each other push limits on the pitch and in the weight room. There was a lot of sacrifice shown, so I feel that our girls know that each other are bought-in.”
Jahnke knows his team still has a ways to go, but there have been signs of maturity, development and improvement. He hopes this continues as the season goes on.
“For this season to be a success we need growth and resilience,” he said. “We will have ups and downs, but I need our girls to see how we are growing and learning throughout the season and to not stop seeing that growth and resilience.”
Jordan wraps up the regular season Sept. 27, after which the 4A state playoffs begin. λ