WOODS CROSS--During head coach David Newman’s tenure as Woods Cross girls soccer coach, the team has been no stranger to success. But the team is itching for more.
The Wildcats have placed second in the region standings each of the last three seasons. During that time, Woods Cross has also advanced to the state quarterfinals twice and to the semifinals last season, where it lost to region rival East, 2-1. Woods Cross is coming of a 16-3-1 season, including a 9-2-1 mark in region play.
The Wildcats remain in Region 5 this season, but there will be some different competitors. With the creation of Class 6A, Woods Cross moves up from 4A to 5A. They will now compete for region supremacy with newcomers. Box Elder and Bountiful remain as league rivals, but crosstown foe Viewmont joins the fray, as does Roy High School.
With new teams to challenge each game, Newman is eager to see how his team responds. He’s especially curious about some of the more non-physical aspects of the game.
“A little more mental strength would see us in good shape,” he said. “I think that is there; it appears the girls have some degree of determination about them.”
The goalkeeping duo of seniors Rachel Noel and Preslee Sudbury have Newman excited for the season’s possibilities. He also has high hopes for a solid back line of defenders to help keep opponents of the board. The midfield and forward positions return experience and skill.
“We have a brilliant goalkeeper,” he said. “We have a good back line that we just need to work out exactly who is playing where and what formation we play. We have a super strong midfield and a forward line that is always likely to shire a goal.”
The top six scorers from a year ago return to the Wildcats. Senior Sara Noel scored 16 goals last season, while teammates Emma Bronson, a junior, and Camryn Henson, a senior, notched 11 and 10, respectively. Three more returning players, Olivia Barton, Ella Duce and Miya Hammond, each registered seven goals last season.
Still, Newman doesn’t like to single out any one player. He believes it takes all 11 players on the field, along with all the reserves, to make a season successful.
“Every player that came back has a huge part to play,” he said.
One factor that Newman is sure will determine whether the Wildcats reach the next level of the state championship game is the players’ focus and will. So far, he said, so good.
“The attitude the girls have shown from the moment the referee blew his final whistle on our semifinal, season-ending game last year has me really excited,” Newman said. “If we stay mentally strong, it will be a successful season.”
The Wildcats started out the 2017 campaign Aug. 8 with a 2-2 tie with Weber. Bronson and Barton each scored for Woods Cross. The team then traveled to San Diego, California, Aug. 11–13 for a tournament. On Aug. 13, the Wildcats fell 4-2 in the semifinal match. This was a day after defeating San Diego High School 2-1 on goals from Taylor Marsh and Sarah Noel.