Mountain Ridge girls soccer wins Region 2 title; reaches state quarterfinalsNov 07, 2023 01:54PM ● By Josh McFadden
Myka Peck will return for the Mountain Ridge soccer team next year. (File photo City Journals)
In a hotly contested Region 2 race in girls soccer, the Mountain Ridge Sentinels came out on top.
Mountain Ridge didn’t cement the region championship until the final regular season game. By defeating Real Salt Lake Academy on Sept. 27, the Sentinels finished 10-2 in league play, a game ahead of Copper Hills and two games ahead of Corner Canyon. Mountain Ridge beat runner-up Copper Hills in both meetings—and both meetings were convincing three-goal victories. The Sentinels prevailed over the Grizzlies 3-0 on Aug. 29 at home and 4-1 on the road on Sept. 21.
For its efforts, Mountain Ridge earned the fourth seed in the Class 6A state tournament. The Sentinels got a bye in the first round and then hosted 13th-seeded Pleasant Grove on Oct. 10. Thanks to strong goalkeeping from Elle Rafajko and solid defending from the backline, Mountain Ridge shut out Pleasant Grove 2-0. The Sentinels got a goal in each half, with Jocelyn Wright and Kya Newton finding the back of the net. Chesney Bitton had an assist in the key victory.
In the quarterfinals, with a bid to the semifinals on the line, Mountain Ridge drew fifth-seeded American Fork, which finished second in Region 3. The Sentinels started off well, leading 1-0 at halftime behind a goal from Newton on an assist from Kelsie Peterson.
But the second half belonged to the upstart American Fork Cavemen.
American Fork had two goals in the final 40 minutes to win 2-1. The loss ended Mountain Ridge’s season with a 13-5 record.
The Sentinels’ region title was their second in a row, having gone 10-0 in league games a year ago. This seasons’ group outscored foes 47-22, including a 36-14 advantage in region play. Rafajko, a senior, had two shutouts, while fellow goalie Gabi Merino had one. The duo of Newton and Wright was one of the most potent in all of Class 6A. Both players had 15 goals on the year, with Newton also leading the team with 11 assists. Peytyn Bullard had three goals and four assists, while Kelsie Peterson had three goals and seven assists. Kaislee Johnson, Hadley Leonard, Jayla McFarland and Myka Peck each had two goals.
Mountain Ridge could be a team to watch in 2024. Wright will return for her senior season next year, and Newton is just a sophomore. Bullard, who plays midfielder and defense, is a junior too, as is Peterson. λ