By Doug Brian
Photos by Kurt Johnson
The women’s soccer team at Skyline High School has plenty to gloat about. With a 5-2 win over Corner Canyon followed by a shootout victory over Woods Cross in the first two rounds of state tournament play, it’s on target for another shot at winning the elusive 4A state championship.
In previous years, the team has played well in state tournaments, and this year, it is just as close to winning the title. So what is the secret to its success, its strength, its ability to constantly perform so well?
Many would argue the credit belongs to the three captains of the team, the powerhouses – Holly Daugirda, Emma Heyn and Bella Sorensen, all seniors. They’re considered to be the best of the best, those who score the most goals, the stars of the team. However, Daugirda insists that she’s only as good as the rest of the team.
“How good I am depends on my teammates as well, and how they support me,” Daugirda said.
“I think it’s more of a team effort, Sorensen added. “It takes a whole team to get to the ball on the field.”
But she concedes that “(The goal scorers) are the people that usually do shine.”
Whether they agree with it or not, they admit that their status as the “stars of the team” does come with a bit of added pressure.
“Definitely (the pressure) motivates me, but at the same time, it’s kind of intimidating,” Daugirda said. “People have expectations of me, and of how I play.”
She’s certainly met these expectations, having scored 26 goals for Skyline so far this season, more than anybody else on the team. Heyn, with the second highest number of goals on the team (23), says the pressure doesn’t just affect her.
“We’re ranked number one in the state,” Heyn said. “We do have that pressure, but everyone else on the team does as well.”
All three captains, in fact, stress the importance of the team as a whole unit, and are very proud of how far they’ve come as individuals and teammates.
“When I first came into the team, the seniors were rude, and there was no chemistry whatsoever,” Daugirda said.
“It’s gotten better every year,” Sorensen added. “Once all the seniors left, we got to rebuild (the team).”
All three captains believe that once this happened, the chemistry between the players improved and the team functioned far better as a unit. The results speak for themselves, as the team has proved itself to be a solid adversary; they’ve made it to state championship games the last two years, which Daugirda admits have made up some of her proudest moments on the team.
“When we win playoff games are some of the best times,” Daugirda said. “When we beat Olympus High (Skyline’s traditional rivals), everyone was so happy. We haven’t won state yet, so I feel like that’ll be the best moment for me.”
“Getting to state so many times, just that whole experience has been (the best),” Heyn said.
It’s very clear that the girls are hell-bent on getting the state championship title; having played in the final the last two years, and just narrowly missing out on victory each time by a single goal. However, if the title eludes them once more, Daugirda is confident that the team will carry on and perform solidly once she graduates.
“We have a strong junior class, so I’m confident that they’ll step up,” Daugirda said.
Once they graduate, all three captains plan on continuing to play soccer. Sorensen is looking at Southern Virginia University.
“If I can get scholarships and everything figured out, I’ll definitely go there,” she said.
Heyn hasn’t made any solid choices yet, but says she wants to keep playing in college “if the right opportunity arises.”
Daugirda received a scholarship to play collegiate soccer at the University of Utah, and recently got the opportunity to play as a defender on the U.S. U-19 Women’s National team.
“It was unbelievable,” she said, “It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”
Skyline’s women’s soccer is dominating Utah’s Class 4A, and little seems to be standing in their way. Daugirda, Heyn, and Sorensen have proved themselves forces to be reckoned with. Their confidence and unity means they are sure to see a fantastic finale to a phenomenal season, and to hopefully grab the state championship title that has so narrowly escaped their grasp before.
Editor’s Note – Holly Daugirda scored the team’s lone goal, on an assist from Sorensen in Thursday’s thrilling penalty-kick shootout win over Woods Cross. The trio of Daugirda, Heyn and Sorensen were the first three to kick in the shootout and all three buried their opportunities as the Eagles won that shootout 4-3 to advance to the state semifinal next Tuesday at Juan Diego Catholic High School. Skyline will face Wasatch at 1:15 p.m.