With the high school women’s soccer season coming to an end, here are three thoughts and observations on the 2022 season.
THE BEST TEAM DOESN’T ALWAYS WIN THE TITLE
Two No. 1 seeds in the women’s soccer playoffs were arguably the top teams in their respective rankings all year.
Bonneville and Lone Peak were both 16-0. Both teams lost before the state championship game, the Lakers in the second round and LP in the semifinals.
The best team in August and September is not always the best team in October. The No. 1 seeds won this year’s 4A and 3A titles, but that was not the case in 6A, 5A or 2A.
Since UHSAA switched to the RPI ranking system in 2019, the No. 1 seeds are 6-8 in state championship games and have missed the title game at six. occasions.
Since the arrival of the RPI, the No. 2 seeds have won eight of the 20 championships. Below are the records of the seeded teams in state football championship games during the RPI era. .
- 1 seeds: 6-8
- 2 seeds: 8-4
- 3 seeds: 2-1
- 4 seeds: 1-0
- 5 seeds: 1-3
- 6 seeds: 0-3
- 7 seeds: 1-0
- 8 seeds: 0-1
- 9 seeds: 0-0
- 10 seeds: 1-0
In 6A, the four RPI-era title matches featured the No. 2 and No. 5 seeds three times, with the No. 1 and No. 7 seeds being the only others.
Davis High became the first No. 7 seed to qualify and win a state championship game when they beat Farmington last week. Darts weren’t the best team in 6A in August or September, but they were the best for a four-game streak in mid-October.
The least predictable seems to be 5A. A No. 6 seed went to the 5A title match twice, while the other six entrants were No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 8 and 10. This year’s 5A Finals featured the first time a No. 8 (Bountiful) or the No. 10 seed (Skyline) has played for a championship.
A No. 1 seeded 5A won the title in 2021, but the other three top-seeded 5A teams lost twice in the second round and once in the quarterfinals. Those other three top-ranked 5A teams are, oddly enough, Region 5 champions Bonneville (2022), Viewmont (2020), and Farmington (2019).
The No. 4A seed went to all four title matches, while the No. 2 and 3 seeds each went twice. Similarly in 3A, the No. 1 seed has appeared in all four title matches since 2019, facing a No. 2 seed twice and once against No. 3 and No. 6.
In 2A, it’s 1-2 every year, with the No. 2 seed holding a 3-1 record in those games.
Aside from No. 1 seeds winning less than half of the league games they play in, undefeated teams winning state titles aren’t that common. In that regard, Davis’ consecutive undefeated seasons in 2015-16 are something of an anomaly.
The list below captures the teams that have gone undefeated in the regular season since 2016 and how they fared in the playoffs.
- 2022: Bonneville (second round), Lone Peak (semi-final)
- 2021: Skyline (champions), Cedar Valley (quarterfinals)
- 2018: American Fork (quarter-final), Rowland Hall (champions)
REAIGNMENT LIES, COULD CHANGE A LOT
The UHSAA completes its biennial realignment later this fall, bringing its normal amount of change to the landscape of prep sports.
The water is muddy to the north, where regions 1, 5 and even 13 could be very different or similar.
A few questions to ponder:
Will Roy be in Region 2 or will he be small enough to go to Region 5A 5, where the school has wanted to be since moving to 6A in 2019?
Will Northridge stay in Region 5 or will the Knights be big enough to be forced back to 6A, likely in Region 1?
Is Clearfield watching Region 2 after seeing Roy’s experience? The Falcons are coming off their best season in women’s soccer since 2014, going 7-11 with a home playoff victory.
With a stunted 4A classification of just 13 schools, the UHSAA board may want to bring 4A down to about 20 schools this time around.
Does the card pull 5A, 3A or both to do this? Do Bonneville, Ogden, Ben Lomond and/or Morgan change rankings? Bonneville fits in well in Region 5, 3A has been better for all sports than Ogden and Ben Lomond, while Morgan probably wants to stay 3A as well.
What happens two years from now when West Field High opens its doors to Taylor, directly attracting students from Fremont High and Roy (and also indirectly affecting Weber’s boundaries)?
The school comes online in the middle of a lineup, much like Farmington did in 2018. Since it’s pulling from two 6A schools, West Field would likely open in 5A — with about 1,500 students, according to the Weber School District – before getting big enough for 6A a year or two later.
A CLOUDY LOOK AT THE FUTURE 2023
With the caveat of the realignment potentially shaking things up, here’s a quick look at the region’s outlook in 2023.
Region 1: Expect a competitive region next year as always, but perhaps not as straightforward as this year, where Farmington won the region 9-3 and three teams finished 8-4.
FHS is expected to fire most of its starters, but the Phoenix fire their best player, senior forward Swayzee Arnell and midfield captain Whitney Avei.
Three teams pushed Farmington into the area: Syracuse, Davis and Layton.
Syracuse is graduating its top two scorers, Cortney Cobabe and Abby Schofield, and its top two defensive players, defenseman Dakota Merino and goaltender Madi Paulsen. The Titans find ways to finish in the top half of the region no matter what.
Davis and Layton are the same way. Davis may graduate her best players, Emery Jacobs and Olivia Flint, but darts is a women’s soccer institution at this point.
Likewise, Layton entered this year with very few experienced players and finished a game out of first place in the region.
All but one of Fremont’s top scorers this year have been seniors, so the Silverwolves could be inexperienced and/or young aside from Ashlyn Gwynn (eight goals, eight assists in 2022).
Weber and Clearfield are in similar positions, with a handful of expected comebacks (Callie Price at Weber, Cassidy Andrews at Clearfield) and a handful of key credentials they will need to figure out.
Region 5: It seems more open next year. Bonneville went undefeated in the region, but graduated from an influential senior class made up of four Division I players (Summer Diamond, Gracie East, Ashlyn Price and Sadie Beardall).
All three schools in Southern Davis County finished 5-5 in the region, tied for second, so one of them could become the favorite. Bonneville could still be pretty good next year, but the Lakers probably won’t be a wrecking ball like in 2022 (and heck, they could be 4A anyway).
Northridge (again, might not be in the area next year) got its goals and assists from sophomores and seniors this year, so the Knights should have good returns and be competitive again. Of their six regional defeats, five have been either by a goal or in a penalty shootout.
Like Northridge, Box Elder hopes to translate non-regional success to Region 5.
Graduated Bees midfielder Sarena Mackley but is expected to return top scorer Kaydence Barber next year. One area of focus next year could be defense, as Box Elder has allowed 31 goals in 10 regional games (the most in the region).
Region 13: Ogden and Morgan are expected to fight for the regional title again, assuming they are both in the region. Ogden is expected to fire virtually everyone, although the Tigers will almost certainly miss senior defenseman Aya Obayashi.
Morgan is expected to fire several starters, but not all, including forward Kaydence Wardell, defenseman Emma Toone and goaltenders Madison Wangsgard and Miya Turner.
Connect with journalist Patrick Carr via email at [email protected], Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.