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Holladay Journal

Skyline soccer wins state title

Nov 29, 2021 11:29AM ● By Daniel Olsen

The Skyline girls team celebrates a first half goal during the championship game at Rio Tinto. (Photo contributed by Tyler Baker)

By Daniel Olsen | [email protected]

Joy illuminated the faces of soccer players on the Skyline Eagles team as they hoisted the 5A UHSAA Girls Soccer State Championship trophy. It was a special year in which they finished unblemished. 

“We started with a great preseason and found two players that weren’t on the team last year,” coach Yamil Castillo said. “We returned talent like Aly Swenson. We had several other players coming back who play very well. We thought we could win a title, but expected some growing pains. We went into the postseason undefeated. I feel when we play anyone in the region, they give us their best game. We have a strong region. We had only one overtime game against East. We knew they were a team that could make it a challenge. In the shootout we had an amazing goalkeeper and we beat them.”

There were great individual performances, but the entire team play is what helped the Eagles come out on top. It wasn’t until they bought into the team aspect that they really hit their peak.

“Our team motto this year is ‘Together’,” Aly Swenson said. “At the beginning we struggled playing together. Our team wins by playing well together.”

The senior played the forward position and was an integral part of the team’s success. She will be continuing her soccer career at Weber State University and is excited to play with some players from her club team.

It was unanimous among the Skyline High School coaches who would win the team MVP, but it is important to note that everyone on the team had an impact on this championship.

“Lily Boyden was voted the MVP of our soccer team,” Castillo said. “There is no question that she is an amazing athlete. I can point out other players that helped carry the team, but it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the players. We had a great offense, defense and goalkeeper. We played as a team and made mistakes, but were able to come out on top. We shut out our opponents in the first few rounds, but the games got closer as the playoffs progressed. I want to give credit to the team and community. The kids are amazing. They all contributed to our success.”

The future looks bright for Skyline soccer as the girls return plenty of experience next year.

“We have half of the starters coming back,” Castillo said. “They are sophomores. That will open the door for a lot of other kids like the current freshman players. When we won state in 2019, we had an amazing group of underclassmen. I hope that now that we’ve gone undefeated, that will bring a new group of strong players.”

After playing in high school fields, a change of scenery was a fun change as the players got to play the final rounds of the state playoffs at Rio Tinto Stadium. That is the home of the Real Salt Lake team that competes professionally in Major League Soccer.

“We’ve played on a lot of different soccer fields,” Swenson said. “This was a huge field and a different atmosphere. It made the game feel more important.”

The change of scenery didn’t make the players or coaching staff waver whatsoever.

“We play quite a few games at a football stadium that’s a little bigger than a soccer field. We played at Juan Diego High School and got used to the size of the bigger fields. I thought the girls were prepared for the challenge. They had athleticism and talent. We knew we were going to succeed. They’ve been to the finals four times. The experience factor helped.”

This time, Skyline was definitely motivated to do more than just get to the championship game.

“I would say the determination, the desire and goals set us apart,” Castillo said. “Our goal ultimately isn’t just to be happy to make the team. We always have in our mind to be region champs and go to the finals. It looks easy but it’s a challenge. There are a lot of good teams and players all over the state. The girls come together. When you play together as a team, nothing is impossible.”

It was a fun journey for the players as they discovered with time that they had a great shot to win a state championship.

“We didn’t realize it until we beat Olympus for the second time,” Swenson said. “It’s fun to keep destroying teams that are not able to stop us.”

Key players stepped up throughout the season to really solidify the depth of this team.

“Berlyn Dibble, who plays the center mid-position was a big help,” Swenson said. “She played the second half of the season as she couldn’t play at the start. She is a calm and composed player who was key to our success.”