By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography)
Editor’s Note – The TOSH Top 30 is our countdown of the top 30 stories from the 2015-16 school sports year, beginning with No. 30 and counting down, one story a day, to No. 1. The 2015-2016 high school sports year was filled with big performances, both team and individual. The act of narrowing down our initial list of top stories for our TOSH Top 30 stories of the year to just 30 was a difficult task. We asked people all over the state for input into our final list and beginning June 22, we are counting them down in reverse, from story No. 30 to story No. 1. Hopefully your favorite story of the past school year made our list.
We have reached our Top 20, and No. 20 on the countdown is the undefeated championship season for the Juan Diego boys soccer team.
#20 – Breakthrough title for Juan Diego boys soccer
Being the first to do something is always special, and for the boys soccer team at Juan Diego Catholic High School, its 2016 first was just that. The Soaring Eagle not only won the school’s first-ever state title in boys soccer, but did so by running the table with an 18-0 record.
Three different players reached double digits in goals scored for this offensively dominant squad, but the real story came from a defense that allowed just five goals all season and just two against Region 11 competition. Overall, Juan Diego scored 69 goals while allowing those five tallies as sophomore keeper Martin Kelly recorded 10.5 shutouts.
After giving up a goal in a 6-1 victory over Union to open the postseason, the Soaring Eagle shut down three Southern Utah teams to win the 3A state title. A 3-0 win over Desert Hills was backed up by 1-0 victories over Dixie (semifinal) and Snow Canyon (state final).
Midfielder Brandon Sands, who scored the game-winner in that state title contest, was the Deseret News 3A MVP as the playmaker for Juan Diego. The senior distributed 11 assists and scored six times this season.
The Soaring Eagle scoring leader was sophomore striker Jered Mariani, who found the back of the net 16 times this season. Junior Ruben Castillo tallied 15 times and senior Michael DiGeronimo scored 10 goals as part of the diverse Juan Diego attack.
This team was bolstered by a powerful midfield and dominant defense. Joining Sands in anchoring the center line were senior Garrett Albright and junior David Hurtado. In the back, in front of Kelly, seniors Woodey Greer and Julien Williamson created a nearly impenetrable wall.
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