Coaches optimistic of new season
By Matt Harris
Girls soccer in Sanpete County is already on the move. Here’s a look at the prospects for our three Sanpete County high school teams :
Manti girls soccer looks to continue their strong run over the last several years, having won the region title in 2018 followed by a short-lived playoff run.
A big plus for the Lady Templars is the fact Manti returns their goalkeeper, junior Katie Larsen, and seven seniorsؙ—almost enough to field their entire starting lineup.
“I’m just excited,” Coach Elisha Steinfeldt said. “The thing is, with these girls, no matter what, it’s fun to come to practice. They love to be together, and when you want to come, and you want to work, it’s gonna get there…We’re super excited about our potential.”
Last season, the Lady Templars followed a pattern that has become something of a theme for the team. Manti hit a rough start in pre-region matchups due to scheduling top-tier, non-region games. After starting 1-2-1, they stormed through the region to an undefeated 8-0 mark. In fact, the Lady Templars have not lost a region game in nearly five seasons.
The pitfall has been translating that success to the state playoffs. The Lady Templars have not gotten any further in those five years than two semifinals losses.
Manti’s experience has shown that the teams to beat are in the other two 3A regions, such as Morgan, the team that knocked Manti out of the title run for two straight years.
Manti started this season with a 0-0 draw against 2A powerhouse Rowland Hall. “That’s a super tough team,” Steinfeldt said. “The majority of them (Rowland Hall’s players) play year-round.”
Manti is at home in a matchup against Morgan this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The Lady Hawks could definitely go for a reversal of fortune after having their worst season since 2011 last year.
The normally-solid North Sanpete girls soccer team sputtered its way to a 2-13 record overall, going winless in region just a year removed from their run to the 3A semifinals in 2017.
“We’ve got quite a young team,” Coach Mikel Holder said. “We got some skills in those younger grades that are showing up, and they’re making us better.”
North Sanpete projects their leaders this year to be their centerfielders, Siri Huntington and Aspen Clayton. Huntington has had her first goal already this season, and Clayton, a senior, returns after going all of last season without a goal. She scored two goals in 2017 as a sophomore.
North Sanpete started their season the right way with a win over Millard, 4-1, but fell to Parowan last Friday, 1-0.
They were scheduled to play Maeser Prep at home last Tuesday (after press time).
The Gunnison Valley girls soccer team has been trending in the wrong direction but will be looking to reverse their fortunes in the 2019 season.
Under Coach Chase Christensen, the Lady Bulldogs finished with only two wins last year. More concerning is that they were shut out in seven of their games and only scored two goals in 10 losses. Both of their wins came against a squad from Beaver that was dead in the water.
Senior Mia Van Dyke returns to the Lady Bulldogs this season and is backed up by three impressive juniors—Harley Jenkins, Sydney Facer, and Maddie Davis.
Christensen was not available for comment.
Gunnison has looked more field-ready at the beginning of this new season. Despite a crushing 8-0 loss to a solid Richfield team, they matched Draper APA goal for goal in a thrilling 5-5 draw.
Gunnison will be at home facing Carbon today (Thursday) at 4 p.m.