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Juan Diego Soccer Team Wins Region

Nov 06, 2015 09:11AM ● Published by Ron Bevan

By Ron Bevan

Draper - A tough pre-season schedule and an unusual number of seasoned veterans enabled the Juan Diego to win another region girls soccer title.

The Soaring Eagles’ only Region 11 loss came in a close 3-4 contest with Logan Sept. 22. Juan Diego avenged the loss with a 2-1 win over Logan Oct. 8, helping secure the region crown.

Part of the success of this year’s team can be attributed to the veterans on the team. Juan Diego fielded 11 seniors this season, with another nine juniors, many of whom saw varsity action last year.

“It is a little unique in soccer to have so many seniors,” Juan Diego coach Myriah Fankhuser said. “Most of them have played together since they were young. They have a lot of familiarity and so they have the chemistry to know how each plays. It makes it nice because the coaching staff can focus on other things instead of helping meld the team.”

Fankhauser wanted her charges ready for the season, so she booked some of the top 4A and 5A schools to play in the preseason. The Soaring Eagles lost a couple of those, but a tie game with perennial 5A powerhouse Brighton told the girls they could play with just about any team.

“Three of the teams we lost to in the preseason are in the 4A or 5A semi finals,” Fankhauser said. “It was nice to know we can play with high quality teams.”

Consequently Juan Diego took command early of Region 11 action on the heels of a balanced scoring attack. A total of 14 different players tallied goals for the Soaring Eagles this season.

“Usually you have one girl that stands out as your top scorer, someone you can go to when you need a score,” Fankhauser said. “But we are much more dynamic and dangerous as a well-balanced attack. The defense can’t plan on who to concentrate their defense on. It is amazing how much success you can have when nobody cares who gets the credit. They all just want to win; they don’t care about the glory.”

Senior midfielder Ashley Buck did lead the scoring attack with seven goals. Senior forward Gabbie Berg added six scores and freshman Daviana Vaka chipped in five.

Juan Diego’s defense shut out six teams this year. Junior goalkeeper Audrey Hall was credited with all six shut outs.

Juan Diego stormed into the 3A playoffs with a 10-9 drubbing of Grantsville. But it took an overtime shootout for Snow Canyon to send the Soaring Eagles packing in the quarterfinals. Fankhauser knew that would be the tough round.

“All eight teams in the quarterfinals were capable of winning state this year,” Fankhauser said. “It just came up to which teams played their best. We played well against Snow Canyon. Either team can win when it goes to a shoot out.”

Although the Soaring Eagles will lose so many seniors to graduation, the future continues to look good for Juan Diego. With nearly as many juniors coming back, including the veteran goalkeeper Hall, along with younger classmen like Vaka, the team is already reloaded for the 2016 campaign.

“It is nice for turnaround purposes for next year’s team,” Fankhauser said. “We had younger girls that stepped up this season which will help next year.”      

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