Football

High school soccer: 6A/5A/4A state championship previews

6A playoffs

Top seed Lone Peak squares off against No. 5 seed American Fork for the Class 6A state championship at America First Field on Friday at 11 a.m. The Knights (19-1) head into the match in dominant form, boasting a streak of seven straight victories over the Cavemen (13-5), including 3-0 and 2-0 wins in region play this year.

The Knights are formidable on both ends of the field. They’ve amassed an impressive 85 goals this season, conceding only 8. Brooke Hendricks and Samantha Sellers stand out on the stats sheet, contributing 17 and 13 goals, respectively. The Knights defense has held firm with Eliza Collings registering 15 shutouts.

The Cavemen, however, aren’t to be underestimated. With 49 goals scored and 20 conceded, they’ve demonstrated their competitive edge. Lucy Kesler and Julie Huddleston have been key players, scoring 15 and 10 goals, respectively. Goalkeeper Sarah Mathis, who has saved three of four penalty kicks she’s faced this season, will be crucial in defending against the Knights’ potent attack.

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American Fork players celebrate a goal during a girls 6A soccer state semifinal game against Skyridge at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. American Fork won 1-0.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Both teams navigated their way to the finals with close wins. The Knights eked out a 1-0 victory over Layton in a tense semifinal, thanks to a last-minute goal from sophomore Ivy Harding. The Cavemen secured their place in the final with a 1-0 win over Skyridge, courtesy of a header by Sophie Eckery and a penalty save from keeper Mathis.

There’s also a rich history in the competition with both teams boasting recent championship wins. Lone Peak won the state title in 2018, while the Cavemen clinched the championship in 2019.

Friday’s clash promises high stakes and intense competition as the Cavemen aim to break the Knights’ winning streak and claim another title. Alternatively, the Knights look to continue their dominance and add another trophy to their collection.

5A championship preview

In a first-time meeting on the grandest stage of Utah high school girls soccer, the No.5 Bountiful Redhawks will face off against the No. 10 Maple Mountain Golden Eagles in the 5A state championship game at America First Field on Friday at 5 p.m.

Bountiful enters the finals on a strong note, boasting a record of 15-4, scoring an impressive 62 goals while allowing only 28. The Redhawks are paced by standouts Caroline Hellewell with 15 goals and 16 assists, and Belle Sorensen adding 16 goals and six assists. Bountiful has won four state titles in school history, but none since 2006. It came close to halting that drought last year, but lost in the championship to Skyline in a shootout.

The shootout was been kind to the Redhawks this playoff run as it eliminated Springville in penalties in the quarterfinals and then Brighton in the semifinals.

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Maple Mountain celebrates Hannah Bailey’s goal during their game against Olympus during the 5A girls soccer semifinals at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023.

Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Maple Mountain strides into the championship with a record of 13-6 with 33 goals scored and 25 conceded. Spearheading the team’s offensive, Mika Krommenhoek has added five goals and 14 assists, and Kesley Jewkes provided six goals. The Golden Eagles last won a state title in 2017.

Since beating Highland in the first round, Maple Mountain has knocked off three straight higher seeds to reach the final — No. 7 Timpview, No. 2 Clearfield and No. 5 Olympus.

Both teams have shown tenacity and grit throughout the playoffs. Bountiful, faced with a disadvantage from a second-half red card against Brighton, managed to secure a berth in the final by winning through a tenacious shootout, learning the lessons from its shootout loss in last year’s 5A championship against Skyline.

For Maple Mountain, after losing five of it first seven games this season it has turned things around and has won 11 of its past 12 games heading into the final.

4A championship preview

No. 3 Park City and No. 1 Green Canyon are set to battle for the 4A state championship title on Friday at 2 p.m. at America First Field. Park City is looking to reestablish its championship credentials after a 16-year hiatus, while Green Canyon is making its first-ever state championship appearance since the school opened in 2017.

Park City has had a strong season, with an overall record of 17-2-0. It’s been an offensive powerhouse throughout, scoring 72 goals while conceding 23. Abby Hanton and Lauren Kindt have been particularly notable contributors, each notching 13 goals during the season.

On the way to the finals, Park City asserted its dominance by securing wins against Cedar and Snow Canyon before a nervy 2-1 overtime win over Stansbury in the semis on Monday. Kendall Hassel scored the dramatic winner on an Olimpico goal in overtime.

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Park City’s Caroline Retzer goes for a shot with Stansbury’s Sofia Munoz defending as they play in 4A soccer playoff action at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. Park City won 2-1 in overtime.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Contrastingly, Green Canyon has built its success on a formidable defense this season. Its overall record stands at 18-1-0, having scored 51 goals while allowing just 10. Austin Miller leads the way with 14 goals, with Chloe Sadler adding seven.

The Wolves’ run to the finals has been marked by a tight defense, evidenced in their 1-0 victory over Ridgeline in the semi. It was a tense affair in which Chloe Sadler displayed remarkable composure to score an exquisite free-kick in the final minute, earning her team their seventh straight shutout victory.

Given that this is the first encounter between the teams, the championship game is set to be a thrilling showdown, with Park City looking to revive its title-winning pedigree and Green Canyon intent on carving out its own championship history.

This report was compiled with the assistance of ChatGPT.

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