With the excitement of the state girls soccer playoffs kicking off today, many teams feel like like they have a chance to improve on their league play and put together a four-match winning streak to celebrate on the Rio Tinto Stadium floor.
Their coaches, however, know it will come down to unyielding defense to get the job done.
The state 5-A and 4-A playoffs begin this afternoon, with the 3-A and 2-A playoffs kicking off on Wednesday. The quarterfinals are set for Friday (5-A/4-A) and Saturday (3-A/2-A).
Region 1 champion Davis and Region 2 champion Viewmont are among the top squads. Alta is also a solid bet to make it through the first week unscathed.
Fremont, Northridge and Weber also have the experience to play Cinderella this time around.
In Region 5, league champion Bonneville boasted a super strong defense -- backstopped by keeper Megan Fillpot -- and could be the best bet to make Rio Tinto. Bountiful, Woods Cross and Clearfield enjoyed strong season out of Region 6 and will look to mak seom noise as well.
Ogden, the defending state 3-A champion, gets offense from many sources, but the Tigers defense, backed by keeper Kelsey East, will try to be just as sting as they were a season ago.
Bear River, Ben Lomond and Morgan will also look for opening wins on Wedensday.
In the 2-A ranks, perrenial power St. Joseph is building toward another title run, but fell to Waterford in the 2-A North league tournament final to see their nine-match winning streak come to a close. Goalkeeper Ali Koehler will be counted on to lead the way. The two could meet again in late October for the 2-A title.
Utah cycling race tight as final nears
The third stop in the new Utah High School Cycling League tightened the chase in Alpine.
More than 210 riders tackled the third event in the four-race season, the final stop before Utah's first-ever state championship event set for Oct. 20 at Soldier Hollow in Midway.
The varsity boys division continued to deliver big drama, with series points leader Zach Peterson of South Davis High edging independent rider Justin Griffin after a tense back-and-forth duel along their 18-mile race.
It was a familiar scene in the varsity girls race, as Park City's Brenna Egan continued her season sweep with another trip to the top step of the podium, besting teammate Quinn Graves by 35 seconds.
For full information, visit www.utahmtb.org.
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