JDCHS girls soccer ends historic seasonDec 14, 2020 11:53AM ● By Catherine Garrett
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
For the first time since entering the 4A ranks, the Juan Diego Catholic High School girls soccer team reached the second round of the state playoffs. The Soaring Eagle squad defeated Uintah 3-1 Oct. 10 before losing to Green Canyon 4-1 four days later to end their season.
“We never stopped fighting for the win,” senior captain Ellie Simkins said, who noted that the bus ride following the game solidified their team chemistry further. “It actually brought us so much closer. We turned on a sad Post Malone song and cried together, not because we lost, but because that was our last game together.”
“This season was a breakthrough year for JDCHS women’s soccer,” Madz Burnham said. “Our state experience was new for every player on the team, and I am proud we got as far as we did. Thanks to our fantastic head coach Joe Baca, we made it into the second round of the playoffs. He brought unique tactics, and he let us play off our creativity. As a team, we all grew and developed immensely.”
“We really improved over last year,” Baca said. “This year, we added new players from the freshmen class to the varsity team and had a new player from Arizona as a junior. These players helped made the team stronger and our returning players did their part in helping reinforce the tactical strategies of the coaching staff.”
Juan Diego placed fourth in Region 10 with the squad improving against the top two region teams—Ogden and Stansbury—between the two games this season. In their initial game with Ogden Aug. 27, the team lost 7-0 while meeting up Sept. 21 in a 1-0 loss. Against Stansbury Sept. 10, Juan Diego lost 6-1 but narrowed the gap Oct. 5 in a rematch where they lost 2-1.
“The girls came together and demonstrated their improvement in the games during the year,” Baca said. “We were the only team to hold [eventual second-place finisher] Ogden to one goal the entire season, including the championship game.”
Junior Kira Rhay led Juan Diego this year in scoring with six goals while Burnham, senior captain Sammee Herrera and sophomore Hailey Mezenen added three goals each.
Burnham noted that the team’s chemistry played a significant role in the team’s season. “We were a very competitive team in the end and always fought for each other,” she said.
Also on the JDCHS team this season were senior captain Isabelle Alamilla; seniors Savanna Greer and Maddie Orges; juniors Lilly Carlson, Janessa Young-Flores, Sonya Gulgulian, Olivia Harbison, Hanna Jessen, Mwende Kavila, Natalie Lamb, Cami Mates, Olivia Meredith, Hannah Munding, Chaya Roberts and Jonna Tucker; sophomores Lily Edwards, Thaia Tsandes and Drea Mudrock; and freshmen Abbie Alamilla, Maddie Chiazzese, Hailey Cutler, Kate DiGiandomenico, Kennedy Jones, Jada Mirabile, Peyten Montoya, Morgan Mulcahy and Maia Rhay.
“The main thing I learned from this team was how to build a family,” Simkins said. “Every single one of the girls on the team have become my best friends. At the end of the day we accomplished our goal from day one, which was building the program back up from the ground. The other seniors and I helped this program go from a toxic community to a freaking awesome family that can just keep building throughout the upcoming years.”
Baca was assisted by Joe Alamilla, Brian Rhay and Whitney Shuman on the coaching staff this year.
“Overall, these girls shared a goal and this year we came up just short in results, but not in the belief in what this program can become,” Baca said. “We are excited about the future of the girls soccer program here at Juan Diego Catholic High School.”