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Draper Journal

Soaring Eagles soccer falls just short in state semis

May 17, 2018 02:02PM ● By Catherine Garrett

The Juan Diego Catholic High School boys soccer team were again among the top four in the state this season. (Photo courtesy Daniel Cavar)

By Catherine Garrett | c.garrett@mycityjournals.com

For the fifth year in a row, the Juan Diego Catholic high boys soccer team were in the final four at the state tournament. This year, the Soaring Eagle squad lost to Park City 2-0 May 10. 

“We had a great run this year,” said Daniel Cavar, who is in his first year as head coach, although he has been with the JDCHS soccer programs for a few years. “The season was good and the boys did their best. Unfortunately, we did not make it to the finals, but learned valuable things in life just through the game of soccer.” 

In the first round of the 4A state tournament, Juan Diego defeated Mountain Crest 2-1 May 3. The teams were tied at 1-all — with Taiki Hayashi connecting on the Soaring Eagles’ first goal — through the end of regulation and the first overtime. In the second overtime, Connor Kimball found the net for his first goal of the season — and the golden goal.

A defensive battle ensued in the quarterfinals as the Soaring Eagle squad took on Orem May 5. Both teams were scoreless through regulation and two overtimes. In a shootout, Juan Diego prevailed 5-4 to set up the semifinal showdown with Park City. 

“I thought we really stepped up our play in state from the regular season,” senior Jered Meriani said. “It was great to see because the team connected really well and we played our hearts out.”

This season, Juan Diego defeated Judge Memorial 4-1, Stansbury 1-0, Tooele 8-0, Alta 1-0, Bonneville 2-1, Ben Lomond 2-0, Stansbury 3-2 (OT), Tooele 3-1 and Ogden 1-0. Meriani recorded hat tricks in the Tooele and Park City games while Hayashi put three goals in during the Stansbury matchup. 

The Soaring Eagles had losses to Ben Lomond 1-0, Ogden 2-1 Park City (twice — 4-3 and 2-1) while tying Bonneville 0-0.

“The Park City game was kind a wake-up call for us heading in to state,” Meriani said. “We started thinking we were all this and that, but we started to realize that everyone we’re going to play in state is going to be great and we want to keep winning.”

Meriani led the team in scoring this season with 14 goals, although he was quick to credit his teammates for their contributions. “I’m not really the one leading the team offensively,” he said. “Everyone else up top with me combines to get those goals.” 

Also on the 11-5-1 squad were seniors Martin Kelly, Charlie McGowan-Jackson, Byron Carabajal, Mark Martinez, Matthew Lilien, Christian Carabajal, Gustavo Flores, Jered Mariani, Leo Magalde, Andrew Carabajal and Alex Saunders; juniors Seth Blesingim, Brayden Reid, Antonio Ortega, Chrstian Phinney, Jaron Adams, Anthony Ramirez, Leonardo Flores, Kevin Pelayo, Austin Nguyen, Niclspm Lasiew and Brian Martinez Ortega; sophomores Gage Wesemann, John Flanagan, Dylan Strydom, Tyler Young, Mason Harris, Ishan Dhawan and Mark Fivaz; and freshmen Brock Jones, Michael Durazo, Keegan Gilbert, Aaron Kolff, Aidan Hodlmair, Michael Clay and Max Merhi.

Cavar was assisted by Brent Noble and Goran Golemba on the coaching staff this season. 

“Our season went pretty well,” Cavar said. “We had some ups and downs, but we kept playing better every game. We were blessed to see the light every day and play the game we love.”